Our Work for Educators

Back to Our Roots: Golden Apple Leadership Academy Kicks-Off

Going back to our roots, the Education Foundation of Collier County — Champions For Learning has relaunched the Golden Apple Leadership Academy. Dating back to 1990, when Golden Apple was established, the program incorporated elements of continued learning for our educators. Kicking off this renewed initiative was the Golden Apple Leadership Summit, a one-day professional development learning opportunity for past and present Teachers of Distinction and Golden Apple Recipients. Held on June 3rd at the AC Marriot, educators from around the county spent their first day of summer vacation growing in their profession.

The Golden Apple Leadership Academy is designed to strengthen the connection between, and alignment of, educators within Collier’s schools by facilitating the sharing of teaching high impact practices and by developing the capacity of educators to perform leadership roles within their schools. This commitment to encourage career growth and collaboration among our teachers results in stronger classrooms, schools, and communities.

“Several former Golden Apple recipients expressed how valuable the original Leadership Academy experience was for them,” said Barbara Evans, President and CEO of Champions For Learning. “We learned Collier County Public Schools currently does not have a professional development track for educators who want to remain in the classroom. Champions For Learning aims to keep our educators rooted in the district. Because of this, our desire to relaunch a Leadership Academy was fueled.”

Champions For Learning’s goal is to create a long-standing Golden Apple Leadership Academy that becomes an incredible tool for retention and recruitment in our school system and a way for our educators to continue to develop their own personal and professional high impact practices. The Education Foundation of Collier County recognizes that the teaching profession teaches and prepares every other profession. Because of this, we must provide our educators with the support and resources they need in order to achieve success and provide the best education possible for our students.

“I think it is really nice they are taking the time to invest in us,” said Alyssa Heberle, educator at Mike Davis Elementary and 2023-2024 Teacher of Distinction. “It wasn’t just a one and done school year. We get to come to this Leadership Academy and hone in on different skills. It has been nice to have this opportunity.”

As we continue to invest in our educators who then invest in our students, will you join us in supporting professional development for educators like Alyssa? Together, we can champion learning and ensure the overall educational success of our community.

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