Cindy Adler, left, and Shannon Dickinson

On February 21, 2017, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 proudly announced that two of its teachers, both from Chute Middle School, have been named finalists for the Golden Apple Award. Cindy Adler and Shannon Dickinson are among 34 finalists for the prestigious honor that recognizes educators for excellence in teaching. District 65 teachers are no stranger to the Golden Apple Awards with three educators honored as finalists as recently as 2015. The 32nd annual awards recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society. This year’s finalists were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations and represent 4th through 8th grade teachers throughout the Chicagoland area. 

“We are so fortunate to have hundreds of outstanding teachers in all of our schools. Their ability to reach children of all different backgrounds and to really make a difference is truly special,” said Paul Goren, Superintendent in District 65. “Having three children who attended Chute, I can attest first-hand to the excellent work being done by teachers like Ms. Adler and Ms. Dickinson. This is a well-deserved honor for two educators who regularly go above and beyond. Their passion is remarkable and I am very grateful for all that they do for our students.”

Cindy Adler, 6th-8th grade Visual Arts Teacher, is a veteran educator teaching for over 25 years. For the past 17 years, Ms. Adler has strived to give District 65 students an understanding and appreciation of art and to provide different types of learning opportunities to engage students in a variety of media. “I love working with my students to see what their solutions to the assignments are. No two are ever the same and that always makes my work interesting. I love working with middle school students. It can be a difficult, complex age but it is extremely rewarding to watch how much they grow from 6th through 8th grade,” said Ms. Adler. She is also an active member of the Chute community and serves as the District 65 Educators’ Council school representative, as the Chute Allied Arts chair, and also acts as the Arts Specialist for the residency between the school and Columbia College for Project AIM.

Shannon Dickinson, also a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience, teaches Literature and Language Arts to sixth grade students at Chute Middle School. She has been a part of the District 65 team for over 13 years. As an educator, Ms. Dickinson knows how important it is to honor the different experiences of children and encourages them to take ownership of their learning. “I believe that every child wants to be a success. As a teacher, I have a responsibility to honor where they are each at in their learning and to always encourage them to take risks and strive to be their personal best,” said Ms. Dickinson. “I adore being around our middle school students all day, there is never a dull moment and that is very rewarding.” Ms. Dickinson is also an active member of the Chute community having served on the school’s Instructional Leadership Team for the past three years and this year has helped to facilitate professional learning opportunities for her fellow colleagues.

A Celebration of Excellence in honor of the 34 finalists will be held on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Rosemont Chicago O’Hare. Event details and tickets are available at All are welcome to join the celebration.

The finalists will experience a final round of review and classroom observations prior to the selection and announcement this spring of the 10 teacher award recipients. Golden Apple’s award selection committee is comprised of college and university professors, educational consultants, administrators, and former Golden Apple Award recipients. Committee members utilize industry and research based professional standards to identify teachers who exemplify the best of the teaching profession.

Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient also receives a $5,000 cash award. Perhaps most importantly, award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, giving them a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make a difference in education.