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Thank you!

By Staff | Feb 10, 2021

The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools has announced its 34th Annual Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program finalists.

There are 30 of them, scattered among public schools throughout the county with a dozen here in the West Zone.

Our congratulations — and thanks — to each:

Taylor Ashby – North Fort Myers High

Jamie Ayres – Cape Coral High

Yanet Barrero – North Fort Myers High

Alisa Brown – Hancock Creek Elementary

Dr. Nathan Buehler – Mirror Lakes Elementary

Joseph Camputaro – The Sanibel School

Christy Falk – Allen Park Elementary

Annette Gallipo – Bonita Springs High

Brittany Gonzalez – Tortuga Preserve Elementary

Colt Hartstein – Mariner High

Shelly Hassett – Dr. Carrie D Robinson Elementary

Anne Hester – East Lee County High

Melissa Holland – Tanglewood Elementary

Sarah Jones – Ida S Baker High

Sara Kizzire – Lehigh Senior High

Ashley Koehler – Cape Coral High

Louis Lillard – East Lee County High

Kaisha Louis – Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle

Shelby Massaro – Cypress Lake Middle

Heather Morse – Gulf Middle

Joni Pelletier – Treeline Elementary

Marylin Prysi – Villas Elementary

Jennie Rimes – Fort Myers Middle Academy

Krista Rivera – Gulf Middle

Kristen Santiago – Diplomat Middle

Barbara Scarnato – The Sanibel School

Lori Shaw – Cape Coral High

Trevor Tran – Fort Myers High

Bryan Williams – Mariner High

Dana Windey – Riverdale High

Marshall T. Bower, president & CEO of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, summed up the special challenges of this school year well in his announcement of these top teachers.

“During this very trying time in our community and throughout the world, there has been an eye-opening recognition of the importance of the teaching profession,” he said. “Teachers have gone above and beyond to make sure they are meeting the needs of our community’s most valuable asset, our students. These 30 Golden Apple Finalists are outstanding representatives of all our great teachers.

“Above and beyond” is an understatement for these special educators as well as most of their peers.

As the pandemic continues, Lee County teachers, from the newest instructor in his or her first year, to the weather-worn veterans with Golden Apples to their credit, this school year and the last, have been challenging, indeed.

Teachers are braving the classroom to teach face-to-face.

They are instructing remotely through Lee Home Connect and Lee Virtual School.

And they are ports-in-a-storm for kids facing learning challenges our country has not seen in generations.

We thank them all.

The teachers who have sacrificed this year and last.

The teachers who see “their kids” as more than test scores or points on achievement grids.

The teachers who see the child behind the behavior, behind the home situation, behind the specific learning challenge — yes, challenge — on their IEP.

Golden Apple recognizes the “best of the best.”

Kudos as well this year to all the rest who have sucked it up, smiled and battled on for “their kids.”

For our kids.

Thank you.

— Neighbor editorial