Naperville teacher selected as finalist for Golden Apple Award

Headshot of Brian Horner, Naperville teacher
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Naperville teacher Brian Horner has been selected as a finalist for the 2023 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Meadow Glens Elementary teacher was nominated by parent

Horner teaches fourth and fifth grade at Meadow Glens Elementary School. He was nominated for the award by Renuga Balakrishnan, the parent of a student at the school.

Balakrishnan wrote in her nomination of Horner, “Mr. Horner is dedicated in building students who are eternal learners, an imperative skill to face the real world. He is also not afraid to challenge the kids both academically and interpersonally, key to building resilience.”

In the application, Horner was noted for “creating a socially conscious classroom that reflects the background of his students, and aims to find common beliefs amongst them to bring them together.” It pointed out his teaching of not just history, but also empathy, encouraging students to share their thoughts and culture and form connections.

To further his education, Horner attended the Illinois Gifted Conference, learning more about shifting to a student-empowered classroom rather than a teacher-centered one.

What is the Golden Apple Award?

The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching celebrate teachers who have a positive impact on both the lives of their students, and the greater school community. They are presented by the Golden Apple Foundation, an Illinois nonprofit that supports educators who help move their students forward, providing educational opportunities. Different grade levels are highlighted for the award each year.

Horner is one of 30 fourth through eighth grade teachers selected as finalists for the honor this year.

“The impact of a great teacher reaches beyond the classroom and these finalists are proof of that,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple in a press release. “Their dedication to providing an engaging, high-quality learning experience for their students and commitment to creating positive outcomes in their school communities is impressive.”

Winners selected in the spring

The finalists will be visited and evaluated by a selection committee in the next few weeks. Ten winners will be chosen in the spring. Each will receive a $5,000 cash award, and receive a spring sabbatical at Northwestern University. They will also be inducted as fellows to the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.

photo courtesy of Golden Apple Foundation

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