Independence Jr. High School teacher Pam Peters has been selected as one of the finalists in the state of Illinois for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence and Leadership. (Supplied photos)

Independence Jr. High School teacher Pam Peters has been selected as one of the finalists in the state of Illinois for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence and Leadership. (Supplied photos)

Independence teacher Pamela Peters is a Golden Apple finalist 

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Independence Jr. High School teacher Pam Peters has been selected as one of the finalists in the state of Illinois for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence and Leadership.

By Kelly White 

Independence Jr. High School teacher Pamela Peters has dedicated her educational career toward preparing tomorrow’s leaders. 

“Pam’s commitment to ensuring all students in her classes learn and grow makes her stand out as an educator,” Principal Kevin Kirk said. 

Peters teaches eighth-grade English/Language Arts at Independence Junior High School, 6610 W. Highland Drive, Palos Heights. A position she has held for 18 years. 

She has been selected as one of the finalists in the state of Illinois for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence and Leadership.  

The Golden Apple Foundation is the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting educators who advance educational opportunities for students.  

The first week of March, the foundation announced the 2023 finalists for the respected Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Finalists demonstrate, both in their teaching and results, significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. 

Peters being selected for the prestigious award comes as no surprise to her co-educators, including Kirk. 

“Her commitment can also be seen in how she provides individualized feedback to each child, meeting all students where they are in the learning process so that they can all achieve success,” Kirk said.  

Peters was nominated for the Golden Apple by a current student and another English teacher within District 128. 

“To be nominated by my student and another English teacher in the community was an honor as they thought about me and felt that I impacted students’ lives,” Peters said. “To have been selected as a Golden Apple Finalist, I feel very humbled and know that this is a result of the people I work with and my students.” 

Peters graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in Education, a master’s in English Education, and a master’s in Reading Specialist. 

Prior to taking on her current role at District 128, Peters worked in District 111 at the Kankakee Junior High School, where she taught ELA. She also coached track & field at the Kankakee High School for several years. 

Peters is described by her peers as a dedicated role model who models lifelong learning by seeking out opportunities, such as participating in the Chicago Area Writing Project and National Board Certification, to bring back strategies that enhance her classroom’s learning experience. 

“I work hard at understanding my students by knowing their backgrounds, strengths, and interests and meeting them where they are to develop them to reach their full potential in and outside the classroom,” Peters said. “Using formative and summative assessments, I design lessons that provide a window to a broader world and a mirror reflecting students’ backgrounds, cultures, and unique characteristics.” 

The selected 2023 Golden Apple Award recipients will be surprised in the spring. Northwestern University generously provides a spring sabbatical to all award recipients at no cost and each recipient will receive a $5,000 cash award.  

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, and are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois. 

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