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The Tritonian

Mrs. VW Awarded a Golden Apple, NDA’s Second-Ever Winner


Adviser Update, Feb. 15:  TV cameras, local celebrities and Golden Apple dignitaries surprised Caitlin Vanden Wyngaard as she taught her fourth-hour Spanish class.  The popular, hardworking teacher cried with joy as she was presented with a Golden Apple and the applause of students and staff.

Mrs. Caitlin VandenWyngaard has been recognized for her hard work as a Spanish teacher. She was one of ten NDA teachers to be nominated but was the only one who remained in the competition. 

I am truly humbled and very honored to be named a 2024 Teacher of Distinction,” said V.W. “I know it is not easy to get to this point in the selection process, so I was very shocked and surprised when I received a congratulations email notifying me that I was selected and still in the running for the Gold Apple Award.”

“NDA has been blessed to have a few Teachers of Distinction over the years, such as Mrs. Gilson, Mrs. Hearden, Mrs. Jochman, Mrs. Mayer and Sra. Stover, who earned the title of Teacher of Distinction twice. One of our former English teachers, Stefanie Jochman, actually went on to win the Golden Apple Award,” said the Spanish teacher. 

Mrs. VW also acknowledged her “amazing colleagues and students who have inspired and pushed me to continuously grow as an educator and be my best self over the years.” 

There are five phases to the competition: nomination, application, de-biasing, screening, and finally judging. V.W. is currently in the judging stage. 

In order to continue being in the application process she had to make a video. 

“In my video I had to select one word that defines me as an educator and how it influences my teaching practices,” she said. 

Of the 32 individual teachers who were named Teacher of Distinction for 2024, only seven will win the actual Golden Apple Award. 

Mrs. VW. has never made it this far and is excited to see what happens next.

 Not only is she excited but so are her co-workers. 

“I am thrilled to see that Mrs. VandenWyngaard is being recognized as an outstanding teacher in our community,” said Principal Andrea Hearden. 

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer, harder-working teacher.  I’m thrilled she has been named to this honor, and I hope she brings home a Golden Apple,” said English teacher Carolyn Brown.

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