Arturo Fuerte
Arturo Fuerte

Arturo Fuerte, a fourth/fifth grade teacher of music at Willard Elementary School was selected as one of the 30 finalists for the 2020 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Golden Apple announced the selections yesterday.

Mr. Fuerte created “The Hootenanny,” an annual concert in Evanston in which Mr. Fuerte’s extracurricular Modern Bands perform. Last year, 108 students in 19 different bands performed - 62% of the school’s 4th and 5th graders - with participation among underrepresented populations particularly high, said Golden Apple in announcing his selection.

“Following a highly competitive process, 30 educators were selected as finalists for the award --  just 4% percent of a record-setting 732 nominations received from 64 counties in Illinois,” said Golden Apple.

“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 -- significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for the awards. Teachers may not self-nominate.

“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 finalists announced today 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.