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Golden Apple Finalist Reflects On Teaching Amid A Pandemic

by Lee Gaines, Illinois Public Media / Mar 12, 2021

Alumna Dominique McCotter is a Golden Apple Award Finalist

Champaign Unit 4 teacher and College of Education alumna Dominique McCotter, Ed.M. C&I '14, is one of 32 pre-K through third grade finalists for the Illinois Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching this year. McCotter is a kindergarten teacher at Dr. Howard Elementary School.

The statewide award honors teachers for their impact on student growth and learning. Recipients of the Golden Apple awards will be notified with surprise announcements in the spring. Winners receive a $5,000 cash award in addition to becoming fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a group that helps prepare the next generation of teachers in an effort to mitigate Illinois’ teacher shortage.

McCotter has been an educator for 12 years—and she’s spent that entire time in Unit 4 schools, both as a teacher and more recently as an instructional coordinator, developing and supervising curriculum implementation. This past fall, she came back to the classroom amid a pandemic that had closed school buildings across the country.

Illinois Newsroom recently spoke with McCotter about what the last year teaching some of the district’s youngest learners has been like, including both the challenges and successes.

The College extends its sincere congratulations to Dominique on being named a 2021 Golden Apple Award finalist!

Read or listen to her interview with Illinois Public Media's Lee Gaines, here...