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A Golden Apple for the Teacher

"A Golden Apple for the Teacher"

IMG_0459_thumb.JPGIt’s been said that if you have a good teacher you should give them an apple. So what do you give an excellent teacher? That question was answered at Crete Elementary School on Tuesday, May 9, as long-time teacher, Denise Ostarello, was presented the prestigious Golden Apple Award.

Representatives from the Golden Apple Foundation along with district and school administrators, colleagues, former students and parents surprised Mrs. Ostarello as she was in the middle of teaching her students that morning. “Mrs. O”, as her students affectionately refer to her, was one of ten recipients of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. The honorees, Pre-Kindergarten-3rd grade teachers, were selected from a pool of 560 nominees from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

“Being a recipient of a Golden Apple Award is an extreme honor. It’s the equivalent of an actor winning an Oscar for an outstanding performance,” said Superintendent John Rodgers who assisted in presenting the award. “It’s a great honor for the school, district, and community to have this exceptional teacher recognized for her efforts. “Mrs. O” has been teaching at Crete Elementary for the past 19 years and is a cross-categorical teacher in a multi-age classroom (grades 1-3). Nominated for the prestigious honor by a parent of a former student, she had to complete several stages of the application process including a classroom observation. Mrs. Ostarello thanked the foundation for acknowledging her for something that she loves doing. She also thanked her husband who was there for the award presentation along with the rest of her family, colleagues, current and former students and parents for the support that she has received over the years. “What I like best about teaching is my students. They teach me something every day. I learn as much from them as they do from me.”

The Golden Apple Foundation has recognized outstanding Chicago-area educators annually since 1986. The Excellence in Teaching Awards were developed to recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated citizenry. Each Golden Apple award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University and a $3,000 cash award. As a Golden Apple Teacher, "Mrs. O" will also become a Fellow of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators. “Mrs. Ostarello is hands-down one of the most dedicated, deserving teachers I have ever seen. She has the ability to build relationships with the students and to really make a connection. She is truly a leader in our building,” said Erin Lane, Crete Elementary Principal.

Denise Ostarello along with other recipients of the 2012 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be honored at a black-tie event on October 12th at WTTW/Channel 11 Studios in Chicago. WTTW will also broadcast the awards in a one-hour television program following the event. Once again, District 201-U congratulates Mrs. Denise Ostarello on being a Golden Apple award recipient! For more information on the Golden Apple awards program, please visit

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Crete-Monee School District 201-U 1500 Sangamon Street, Crete, IL 60417 Phone: 708-367-8300 Fax: 708-672-2698