Over 300 nominations describing amazing teachers poured in. More than 13,000 votes were cast. Now, the time has come to reveal the winners of our 9th Annual Crystal Apple Awards.
Every year, School Specialty invites educators and school communities to nominate deserving teachers who embody our key contest criteria of inspiration, leadership, and passion. This year’s nominees were all truly inspiring and deserving of honor.
We selected 10 finalists and invited you to vote for the top 3 winners. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations and voted. More importantly, thank you to all the teachers who inspire students and their communities daily with their passion and dedication.
Here are the 3 Outstanding Winners!
Congratulations to our three winners! Each winner receives a Crystal Apple trophy, a $500 School Specialty merchandise certificate, and a $250 School Specialty merchandise certificate for their school.
Doreen Logan, Gateway North Elementary School
Doreen (DJ) Logan has been teaching for 45 years, mostly in Kindergarten! As a lifelong learner, DJ seeks extra professional development to continue learning and growing as an educator. She connects students to diverse learning opportunities by coordinating field trips to the farming community, the rodeo, and the theatre, all with tie-ins to agriculture or STEM lessons. When not planning field trips or leading the after-school Adventure Club, she finds time to bake treats for the staff and share her love of cooking with her students. She is a passionate soul who puts others first and has an optimistic vision for the future. DJ was nominated by a colleague who wanted to say THANK YOU and show gratitude for all she does in the school and community.
Monique Montilus-Bibbins, Clarkston High School
Some teachers have such an impact on a student’s life that they could never forget them. For one student, that teacher is Monique Madame/Mama Bibbins. Ms. Bibbins is a mentor, someone her students can talk to about whatever is happening in their lives. She gives real advice without judgment. Ms. Bibbins has a unique ability to bond with students and their parents to navigate their education. Even after her students graduate, she is there for them and helps them with life decisions and career advice. She means so much to her students and community that we received multiple nominations from students, parents, and colleagues.
Jennifer Wachs, South Allegheny Schools
Jennifer is a reading interventionist who has taught for nearly 20 years at South Allegheny. While still in the classroom, she became a national board-certified educator and earned two master’s degrees. She goes above and beyond to get books of high interest for readers, engages students in meaningful discussions and activities, and provides individualized support to bring out each student’s unique strengths and instill a love of learning. Outside her classroom, Jennifer is a neighborhood educator through the Fred Rogers Institute. She always gives her students the feel of a safe and inclusive classroom environment as she fosters a sense of community and belonging by valuing diversity, promoting respect and empathy, and addressing issues such as bullying or discrimination.
Congrats to the 7 Inspiring Finalists
The remaining seven finalists receive a Finalist Certificate, a $100 School Specialty merchandise certificate, and a $100 School Specialty merchandise certificate for their school.