Golden Apple Surprises Glenview Middle School Teacher with Prestigious Award for Excellence in Teaching


Margarita Mojica is one of 10 Illinois teachers in grades 4-8 recognized for superior performance in the classroom and school community

CHICAGO (May 20, 2020) – Golden Apple, the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting exemplary educators who advance educational opportunities for students, today surprised Margarita Mojica, a sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teacher at Glenview Middle School in East Moline, with the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. For the first time in Golden Apple’s history, the awardees are being notified differently than in the full-school environment, and Mojica was surprised by teachers, students and parents in a drive-by parade in front of the school.

Following a highly competitive process, the 2020 award recipients were selected from more than 730 nominations of 4th-8th grade teachers. The demand for recognition throughout the state was profound, with nominations for outstanding teachers and leaders received from 64 Illinois counties.   

“Exemplary teachers create an extraordinary ripple effect that benefits students, transforms schools and strengthens communities,” said Golden Apple President Alan Mather. “We look forward to Margarita Mojica joining our mission to prepare the next generation of highly effective teachers for Illinois schools through our Scholars and Accelerators programs. Our award recipients play a major role in Golden Apple’s efforts to make a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage crisis across Illinois.”

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and building stronger communities. Teacher award recipients demonstrate — in their teaching and results — significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for the awards. Teachers may not self-nominate.

“We recognize the recipients of the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching to thank them for their countless contributions, to elevate the importance of the teaching profession for all to see and to inspire others to positively impact their communities by pursuing careers in education,” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of Golden Apple.

Award recipients are selected by master educators who understand and recognize instructional best practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders. Members of the selection committee viewed video evidence of instruction and observed recipients’ teaching in-person in their classrooms during a comprehensive day which also included interviews with recipients’ colleagues, school leaders, students, parents and community members prior to school building closures in Illinois.

About Margarita Mojica


Margarita Mojica, who teaches sixth, seventh and eighth-grade for English language learners, became the teacher she needed growing up as a child of immigrants whose first language was not English. From her personal experience, she knows how overwhelming and alienating it can be to learn in a classroom filled with students whose first language is English. In her class, Mojica makes a point to celebrate her students’ cultures – and the culture of others. Outside of teaching, Mojica is the CEO and founder of One by One, a program designed to help people of color graduate from high school.

As a highly valued component of this recognition, Northwestern University, Golden Apple’s partner for more than 30 years, generously provides a Spring Sabbatical to award recipients at no cost.

“Both Northwestern and Golden Apple are dedicated to developing teachers who will transform the lives of their students and we are proud to host these master teachers on the next step in their professional journeys in education,” said Timothy Dohrer, Ph.D., Director of the Master of Science in Education Program at Northwestern University’s School of Education & Social Policy.


In addition, each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who support current and future teachers and deepen the learning of students. Fellows play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers by providing instruction and mentorship to future teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs, each of which is dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.

The nomination period for the 2021 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership is open. All are invited to nominate exceptional Pre-K-third grade Illinois teachers and Pre-K-12th grade school leaders 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. All press materials for the surprise notifications can be found at

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.

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