Steward’s Odle selected as finalist for Golden Apple teaching award

Steward School District #220’s Erin Odle is one of the 2023 finalists for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Odle is one of 30 finalists in the state

STEWARD — The Golden Apple Foundation, the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting educators who advance educational opportunities for students, announced March 2 that Steward School District #220’s Erin Odle is one of the 2023 finalists for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. 

A highly-competitive award process resulted in the selection of 30 fourth-eighth grade teacher finalists in the middle school cycle. Different grade levels are highlighted each year.

“The impact of a great teacher reaches beyond the classroom and these finalists are proof of that,” Alan Mather, president of Golden Apple, said. “Their dedication to providing an engaging, high-quality learning experience for their students and commitment to creating positive outcomes in their school communities is impressive. We are proud to highlight their important work and to honor them as finalists of the 2023 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.”

Odle teaches grades sixth through eighth in math, science and reading. She takes a subject that many students typically detest, math, and helps them to improve their basic math skills while also growing their confidence in their abilities to tackle tough problems and concepts. One way she’s done this is by implementing a unique 20-minute, cross-grade level math bloc that goes beyond the current core math curriculum. This is after last spring’s statewide assessment determined the student body, as a whole, was performing at a higher level in mathematics than prior to COVID-19.

Odle’s colleagues say it’s this determination and her desire to continue to strive for growth that makes her a true advocate for her students. She volunteers her time to support students inside and outside of the classroom, as student council leader, a volleyball and basketball coach and 4-H leader in the community.

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

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