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Edison Elementary Teacher Golden Apple Teacher of the Year

Traci Bowman wins award from among thirty two 2011-2012 Golden Apple Award Winners
Traci Bowman, a 4th grade teacher at Erie's Edison Elementary School, was named "Teacher of the Year" Thursday night during the annual JET 24 Edinboro University Golden Apple Awards banquet.

The ceremony concluded the 21st year of the collaboration between the University and Erie's ABC affiliate in weekly recognition of outstanding educators in public and private schools throughout the region. During that period, more than 700 teachers have been honored with weekly Golden Apple Awards based on letters of nomination from their students and students' parents.

Bowman, one of 32 Golden Apple Award recipients during the 2011-2012 academic year, had been nominated by her student, Dustin Burns.

"Ms. Bowman always has a positive attitude and is very nice," Dustin wrote in his letter of nomination prior to Bowman being honored with a weekly Golden Apple Award in April. "If I have a bad day, she takes her time with me and helps me cheer up! She is super smart and knows a lot of cool things ... I think Ms. Bowman should get the Golden Apple Award because not only is she like this to me, but she does this for all of the kids in my class! We all love and respect her for the person she is."

Although Bowman was presented with the coveted Golden Apple Award in April, it wasn't until this month that she was named one of five finalists for "Teacher of the Year," and then ultimately selected the grand winner by a committee of Edinboro University School of Education professors headed by Dr. Mary Jo Melvin, chair of Early Childhood and Special Education.

In addition to the letters of nomination from students and the weekly Golden Apple specials produced by JET 24, the committee members considered the written answers to questions put to all the Golden Apple recipients in a scoring rubric that aided in its selection of the five finalists and the "Teacher of the Year."

As "Teacher of the Year," Bowman was also awarded an Apple iPAD2 computer, and will be featured in JET 24'S Golden Apple Awards show airing Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. on JET 24..

The other finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award included Lisa Bola of Fairview Middle School, Taylor Hilinski of Harbor Creek High School, Pamela Miller of McDowell High School, and Amy Sturm of Grandview Elementary School.

All, along with the other weekly Golden Apple winners, received special gifts recognizing them as outstanding teachers during Thursday night's annual Golden Apple Awards banquet at Edinboro University's Van Houten Dining Hall.

The Golden Apple Awards represent a collaborative effort between JET 24 and Edinboro University to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of regional school teachers.

During the past 21 years, the teachers honored have represented urban, suburban and rural schools offering elementary, middle and secondary school education.

Edinboro University Interim President James D. Moran and JET 24 Vice President and General Manager Tim Dunst each addressed the banquet gathering that included this academic year's 32 award recipients and their guests, as well as faculty members and administrators from Edinboro University's School of Education, and JET 24 officials and on-air personalities.

Both Moran and Dunst said they were proud of the continued collaboration to recognize the region's teachers, adding that the Golden Apple recipients were symbolic of all classroom teachers who make a daily difference in the lives of their young students.

Teacher education is an integral component of Edinboro University's roots as one of Pennsylvania's normal schools founded 155 years ago. Education still remains one of the university's largest programs with some 1,000 undergraduates enrolled, and many also enrolled in graduate degree and certification programs.

In his Thursday night greeting, Dr. Moran said that in the early days of the Golden Apple presentations, University officials discovered a common denominator linked every recipient.

"Each took an active interest in their students; each will be a special person in the future life success of their students," Moran said. "This past academic year was no different. Every honored educator is exceptional - from the 3rd grade elementary school teacher remembered by a former student serving in an Afghanistan war zone, to the high school special education teacher nominated by the parents of an autistic child.

"Tonight, we further salute our 2011-12 recipients. While only one has been named 'Teacher of the Year,' to our way of thinking, all 32 are teachers of the year - every year."

Also during the Thursday night banquet, Mike Gallagher, JET 24's "face" of the Golden Apple Awards for more than two decades, was honored with JET 24's first Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in bringing public recognition to more than 700 classroom teachers from the onset of the highly successful weekly Golden Apple presentation series.

In addition to Bowman and the other four finalists for "Teacher of the Year," the 2011/2012 Golden Apple Award recipients included:  Laurie Hitt, Fairview High School; Sara Friters, Cochranton Junior-Senior High School; Friede Lundell, Fort LeBoeuf High School; Melissa Mondy, Fairview Elementary School; Virginia Rogers, Erie Day School; Debbie Pero, Rolling Ridge Elementary School; John Herman, Titusville Middle School; Barbara Miller Northwestern High School; Mike Flanagan, Cathedral Preparatory High School; Tiffany Shroyer, Diehl Elementary School;  David Uglow, North East Intermediate Elementary School, William Crabill, Strong Vincent High School; Charles Cross, North East High School;  and Catrina Groner, Wayne Elementary School.

Also, Keith Gilson, Fort LeBoeuf High School; Chris Callaghan, Harding Elementary School; Kelli Leonard, Wattsburg Area Middle School; Linda Baxter, Asbury Elementary School; Donna Pasky, Braden Junior High School (Ashtabula, Ohio); Denise Gazdak, Russell Elementary School; Sara Kim, Fairview High School; Natasha Tucci, Fort LeBoeuf High School; Maricarol Schoenfeldt, Blessed Sacrament School; Paige Scutella, Robison Elementary School; Maggie Watts, Northwestern Elementary School; Rick Rutkowski, Saegertown Junior/Senior High School; and Susan Migliaccio, Corry High School.

Edinboro University and JET 24 encourage students and their parents in Northwestern Pennsylvania, Northeastern Ohio, and Western New York to nominate worthy teachers for Golden Apple Awards by logging onto www.edinboro.edu or www.yourerie.com. Online nominations may be submitted year-around.

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