Oskaloosa Elementary Teacher Wins WHO-TV 13’s Golden Apple Award

OES 1st Grade teacher Megan VandeVoort talks after receiving the 'Golden Apple Award'.

OES 1st Grade teacher Megan VandeVoort talks after receiving the ‘Golden Apple Award’.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Students and staff filed into the Oskaloosa Elementary gymnasium on Wednesday morning, understanding that the first assembly of the year would help set the tone for future assemblies.

There were news cameras and reporters from many different media outlets. The OHS Cheerleaders performed, and a short video was presented.

All of the ruse was about up as Calyn Thompson from WHO-TV 13 in Des Moines took over the microphone, and representatives from IMT insurance, including local representatives from Ratcliff and Blake Insurance in Oskaloosa, joined them.

Slowly, clues were released about who this teacher may be as the Golden Apple banner was being set up.

Ultimately, it was revealed that Megan VandeVoort, a 1st-grade teacher who has spent over a decade helping her students achieve, was named the award recipient.

VandeVoort had been nominated by John and Allisa Knudtson for the award.

The Golden Apple Award is a special recognition given to one exceptional teacher each month of the school year. So, nine teachers are recognized during the school year in the WHO TV-13 viewing area.

VandeVoort is in her 14th year of teaching first grade. “Each year is so special as new students come with precious faces, different abilities, and a world of imagination and knowledge to explore. I haven’t had a favorite year because they are all my favorite!”

“I have wanted to become a teacher since I was little. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Sjaardema, was especially impactful as her classroom was one where I felt safe and cared for. That is exactly how I try to run my classroom. I want kids to feel loved but also safe with the expectations we draw up together. Once we have that established, incredible learning can take place!”

For VandeVoort, she says the morning started as usual, except for the scheduled assembly. “There were an awful lot of cameras, which I thought was strange but honestly didn’t think anything more of it! I had no idea I had been nominated; it was a complete surprise! My family had known for a little over a week and kept it a secret from me!”

VandeVoort says her thoughts leading up to her name being called. “Just prior to my name being announced, I was speaking with the students around me regarding who they thought might be the winner. They were naming past teachers and, as the script was being read, one of my students looked at me and said, “I think it might be YOU!” Then we did the drumroll and she announced my name! I was completely stunned and really couldn’t think of anything more than ‘who would nominate ME?’ ”

As one can imagine, returning to class after all the attention. “Honestly, my class was a little discombobulated when I returned! Structure is important for these young ones and when our day is topsy-turvy, it can be a little tricky! They were so excited for me but they also weren’t really sure how to act!! I figured we’d just roll with it because frankly, I kind of felt the same! There was so much excitement for us all that we didn’t know what to do with it!”

When asked about her career going forward, VandeVoort said, “Most teachers continually grow-we strive to be the best we can be each day! We are always taking classes, attending professional development or researching new strategies to make us and our classrooms amazing! ”

“This award is a true honor but I absolutely believe that every single staff member at Oskaloosa Elementary and in our district should have it. We work together for all of our kids and we know that none of us can do it alone. I’m so proud of the hard work and dedication of each and every one of them,” said VandeVoort in closing.

Oskaloosa School Superintendent Mike Fisher said, “Watching Megan Vandevoort receive the Golden Apple today was such a privilege and honor. She is an incredible teacher and even better human being. She is a testament that the secret sauce at Osky Schools is our people. It is such a blessing to have people like Megan at all of our campuses that continue to love, empower, and inspire our kids every day.”

Posted by on Sep 14 2023. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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