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Triad Teacher Makes Final 30 List for Golden Apple Award

Times-Tribune Staff Report

Triad Middle School 6th grade interventionist in English, reading, and math, Dr. Jeannine Butler of St. Jacob was named one of 30 finalists for the 2020 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in Illinois.

Although teaching in a school with limited diversity, Butler has found opportunities to expose students to different cultures and viewpoints so they can become global citizens. Butler does this through the materials she uses, including  the Levelled Literacy Intervention program and Common Lit,which both contain mostly nonfiction texts.

Butler has taught at Triad Middle School for eight years and was a teacher at Henning Elementary School for seven years before that. She has also been an adjunct profession in the Education Department at McKendree University teaching about instructional strategies with special education students.

Butler holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Missouri Baptist University, a Masters in Education from Fontbonne University and a Bachelor’s from SIUE in Speech and Language Pathology. She is still waiting to find out who nominated her for the Golden Apple since it has historically been a Chicago area award.

Following a highly competitive process, 30 educators were selected as finalists for the award. This was 4% of the record-setting 732 nominations received from 64 counties in Illinois.

“Now more than ever, it is essential to shine the light on the transformational role outstanding teachers play in the future success of Illinois and our nation. Without exceptional teachers, we cannot prepare our students to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple.

“The positive impact these finalists for the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching make on their students, schools, and communities is significant beyond measure, and we take great pride in recognizing their tremendous value”.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities. Teacher finalists demonstrate in their teaching and results, a significant, positive impact on their student’s growth and learning.

“There are few individuals in the state who contribute more to the collective success of our communities than teachers,” said Golden Apple CEO Alicia Winckler. “With the growing shortage of educators in Illinois, it is critical that we elevate recognition of teachers like the finalist announced and the importance of the teaching profession.

Each of these educators serves as a powerful example of the outsized impact one person can have when they are dedicated and committed to excellence. In raising awareness of their accomplishments, we seek to inspire others to follow in their footsteps”.

Award recipients are selected by master educators who understand and recognize instructional best practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders. Members of the selection committee viewed video evidence of instruction and will observe finalists’ teaching in-person in their classrooms- a comprehensive day which includes direct observation of in-classroom teaching accompanied by interviewing finalists’ colleagues, school leaders, students, parents, and community members.

Award finalists will be honored on Saturday, February 22 at the Golden Apple Celebration of Excellence in Teaching & Leadership at the Q Center in St. Charles. Event details and tickets are available at

The 2020 Golden Apple Award recipients will be notified in the spring with surprise visits at their schools. Nothwestern University, Golden Apple’s partner for more than 30 years, generously provides a Spring Sabbatical to award recipients at no cost.

In addition, each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who support current and future teachers and deepen the learning of students.

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