Golden Apples were awarded to six dedicated teachers in Marion County on Friday.
According to a Marion County Public Schools press release, five of those recipients are now Golden Apple Teachers, and they are finalists for the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year award.
The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order.
Beth Abel is an English Language Arts teacher for Exceptional Student Education at Lake Weir Middle School (10220 SE Sunset Harbor Road in Summerfield). She has 35 years of classroom experience.
Leah Bender teaches Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature and Composition, AP Capstone Seminar, and AP Capstone Research at West Port High School (3733 SW 80th Avenue in Ocala). She joined the district in 2014.
Jennifer Bourque is a Self-Contained Exceptional Student Education teacher at Harbour View Elementary School (8445 SE 147th Place in Summerfield). She has 14 years of classroom experience and joined the district in 2014.
Joanne Houghton teaches seventh-grade Civics and eighth-grade U.S. History at Fort McCoy School (16160 NE County Road 315 in Fort McCoy). She has eight years of teaching experience.
Hannah Whitston is a Music teacher for kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Madison Street Academy of Arts (401 NW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Ocala). She joined the district in 2015.
The Rookie Teacher of the Year recognizes an exceptional teacher with up to three years of classroom experience.
The Golden Apple for 2022 Rookie Teacher of the Year was awarded to Melinda Kimball.
Kimball teaches Agriculture at Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks (365 Marion Oaks Drive in Ocala). She joined the district in 2015 and is currently in her second year of teaching.
All six teachers will be recognized during the Golden Apple Gala at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Reilly Arts Center located at 500 NE 9th Street in Ocala.
The event will be broadcast live on the Marion County Public Schools YouTube channel.
During the event, one of the five finalists will be recognized as the 2022 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year and will receive a new, pre-paid, three-year leased vehicle.