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Chicago Public Schools Home to 13 Golden Apple Award Finalists

08 March 2023

One CPS Principal and 12 Educators Earn National Recognition

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) proudly announces that 12 CPS educators are finalists for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching and that Kenwood Academy High School Principal Karen Calloway is a finalist for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Leadership.Nearly a third of the 30 Illinois 4th through 8th grade elementary school teacher finalists are from CPS schools across the city and Principal Calloway is one of six Illinois school leaders who were named as finalists in honor of founding Golden Apple Board Member Stanley C. Golder.

“We are so fortunate to work alongside so many dedicated and talented educators each day and want to especially congratulate these 13 individuals who so aptly reflect the profession and its extraordinary impact on students, colleagues and communities,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Their commitment to our students inspires all of us to work harder to ensure every student enjoys access to great learning conditions and opportunities. “

The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching honor outstanding teachers for creating lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities. Teacher finalists demonstrate significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. This year’s competition among teachers was limited to elementary teachers for grades fourth through eighth as the program alternates honoring educators by various grade ranges.

“These educators are compelled to serve and share their skills and talents to support our students each day out of a passion for teaching and not out of any quest for recognition or awards,” said Bogdana Chkoumbova, the District’s Chief Education Officer. “And yet, it’s wonderful to see such dedicated educators be recognized, shining a light on the field of education and its unique power to change lives.”

The Complete list of Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching finalists were announced earlier this month and CPS will highlight each of the 12 teacher finalists on the District’s website and social media over the next month.

The 2023 CPS finalists are as follows:
  • Anquineice Brown, Marquette Elementary School (4th grade, math & science)
  • Emily Brown, Robert J. Richardson Middle School (8th grade, English Language Arts)
  • Helen Chan, South Loop Elementary School (4th grade, Math)
  • Mandy Guzman, William Dever Elementary School (Grade 7-8, Social Civic Studies)
  • Latavia Hinton, Daniel Boone Elementary School (8th grade Mathematics and Social Science/Civics, Algebra)
  • Rick Coppola, South Loop Elementary School ( 7th grade, English Language Arts)
  • Miguel Melchor, DeWitt Clinton Elementary School, (6th Grade Math and Science)
  • Donna Puccini, Edgebrook Elementary School, Chicago (Grade 5, English Language Arts (ELA), Social Science, Math, Social Emotional Learning (SEL))
  • Jeanette Rocuant, William P. Gray, Chicago (Grades 7-8, Reading, Writing, Social Studies and Civics)
  • Andrea Salgado, North River Elementary School, Chicago (Grades 7-8, English Language Arts, Writing and Civics)
  • Piotr Wojciaczyk, Pulaski International School of Chicago, Chicago (Grades 6-8, IB MYP Product Design)
  • Justin Wrzesinski, John C. Coonley Elementary, Chicago (Grades K-8, General music, rock band, band, and musical)

Guzman of William Dever Elementary School understands the importance of executing meaningful and relevant lessons and encouraging her 7th and 8th grade students to use their voices to raise awareness about important matters, make positive changes, and solve problems.

During a student-led inquiry-to-action project, Guzman’s students organized a series of fundraisers, raising over $2,000 to donate to a Ukrainian charity.

“I love helping students find their power. It motivates me,” Guzman said. “As a Golden Apple finalist, I'm thrilled that my goal to empower students is being recognized as an important part of education.”

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth. The finalists in this category were announced earlier this week.

Principal Calloway was selected as a finalist from more than 130 nominated Pre-K-12th grade school leaders. She believes that a leader must begin with the end in mind, and her end vision is for all her students to succeed in the college and/or careers of their choice, and to be prepared both socially and emotionally for what comes after graduation.

"I'm honored to be selected for such a prestigious award in education. Being named a finalist for a Golden Apple Award exemplifies the hard work we've done at Kenwood over the years," said Calloway. "Our students, staff, teachers and parents are equal partners in our school community. I thank them all because I wouldn't have this platform if it wasn't for their support. I'm blessed."

The selected 2023 Golden Apple Award recipients will be surprised by the Foundation and their respective districts in the spring. Northwestern University generously provides a spring sabbatical to award recipients at no cost. Each recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs - which are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.


About Golden Apple

Golden Apple's mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence, especially in schools of need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is one in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage. Learn more at

About Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools serves more than 322,000 students in 635 schools. It is the nation’s fourth-largest school district.