Golden Apple

Golden Apple Surprises Dr. Howard Elementary School Teacher Dominique McCotter with Prestigious Award for Excellence in Teaching
Posted on 05/11/2021

( - Golden Apple, the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting great educators who advance educational opportunities for students, today surprised Dominique McCotter, a kindergarten teacher at Dr. Howard Elementary School in Champaign, with the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. McCotter is one of 10 teacher award recipients in Illinois.

Following a highly competitive process, the 2021 teaching award recipients were selected from a record-setting 708 nominations of Pre-K-3rd grade teachers.

“These outstanding teachers transform the lives of students, schools, and communities over the course of their careers. Their resilience and perseverance in this past year–and their career–-has been nothing short of amazing,” said Golden Apple President Alan Mather. “Our 2021 award recipients will now join us in our mission to impact the lives of even more students by supporting the next generation of highly effective teachers through our two teacher preparation programs - the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs."

The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching honor outstanding teachers for having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities. Teacher recipients demonstrate – in their teaching and results – significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning.

About Dominique McCotter

As a Kindergarten teacher, McCotter makes many “in-the-moment” teaching decisions based on the feedback from her students. Trained as a Reading Recovery teacher and Teacher Leader, she focuses on helping her pre-emergent readers with many opportunities to master oral language, as a foundation for literacy acquisition. Her classroom library contains an eclectic array of various characters in regards to culture, gender, background, and life circumstances and she encourages her students to engage in conversations about those stories. As McCotter plans for instruction, she considers the various learning styles of her students, and recently taught them about civic engagement in a way they could understand.

Each award recipient receives a $5,000 cash award and a spring sabbatical provided by Northwestern University at no cost. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs - which are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.

The nomination period for the 2022 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership is open. All are invited to nominate exceptional high school teachers and Pre-K-12th grade school leaders in Illinois at

Golden Apple’s social media channels will feature surprises for each of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership recipients.

Follow the news here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn.

About Golden Apple

Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit for more information.

Dominique McCotter of Dr. Howard Elementary School surprised with 2021 Golden Apple Award

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