Champions For Learning is proud to announce the recognition of William R. (Bill) Barker as the 2018-19 Heart of the Apple recipient.
Each year, Champions For Learning awards a Heart of the Apple in recognition of sustained and committed leadership in support of building the culture of learning in our community through the mission of Champions For Learning.
Bill’s professional interests as a career newspaper professional, and his own personal commitment to education and the role that education plays in thriving communities has inspired his leadership of Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County.
As the Regional President, Southeast, LOCALiQ and USA Today Network, and the Publisher of the Naples Daily News, Bill has been instrumental in continuing the almost 30-year partnership between Naples Daily News and Champions For Learning, with the newspaper as one of the founding partners.
Bill has very clearly identified education as a fundamental driver of community and economy. And, as a Board Chair, and now Immediate Past Chair, Bill has provided significant leadership and has left a lasting imprint on the development of Champions For Learning. He has long understood the significant and unique role of an education foundation, and he leveraged his talents and vision to support Champions For Learning’s role in community collaboration, and was a catalyst in the effort to bring a community together around common goals through Future Ready Collier.
Bringing his own strengths to this work has helped to “shine the light” on the fundamental role that Champions For Learning, teachers, students and mentors play in changing lives every day—making sure our students and teachers know they are worthy of headlines.
“We are excited to honor Bill who has had a significant impact on this generation of young people, and by extension, our entire community,” explains Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. “Bill truly embodies the Heart of the Apple award through his passion for helping teachers and students.”
Barker, along with all of the honored teachers in the Golden Apple teacher recognition program will be honored at the 29th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on March 29, 2019 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales, click here.