EAST MOLINE, Illinois - A teacher at United Township High School is now the recipient of the highly respected Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.
History teacher Heather Monson was surprised with the award when her family, friends and bosses filled her classroom at around 10 a.m. on March 21.
Out of more than 550 unique nominees, Monson is one of 10 recipients who is being awarded by the nonprofit Golden Apple.
Golden Apple is a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to recognizing exemplary educators and developing future educators.
A press release about the award says, "The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and building stronger communities."
Award recipients are selected by educators who understand and recognize the best teaching practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders.
This was the first year the award was offered throughout the entire state of Illinois.
“The historic opportunity to bring the recognition of the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching to all of the schools and teachers in Illinois is thrilling and we are delighted to honor Heather Monson this year,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple.
Monson's principal said in a statement, "She is an outstanding teacher who champions the improvement of her students, her colleagues, the school culture and her own professional development."
Monson, who teaches several history courses at the high school level, is also recognized for her volunteer work in the community, her chaperone work on different school trips and her volunteer and charitable support in opportunities that bring forth scholarships for her students.
It is estimated that Monson helped her students attain an estimated $200,000 in scholarships in the last five years, according to Golden Apple.
As a highly-valued component of this recognition, Northwestern University also provides a Spring Sabbatical to award recipients at no cost.
Each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient also receives a $5,000 cash award and award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.
For more information about Golden Apple, click here.