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Golden Apple class of 2023 announced

Amanda Boeke
Family members congratulate St. Bernard Catholic School Kindergarten Teacher Amanda Boeke in her classroom on Feb. 16. Kris Leonhardt photo

By Kris Leonhardt


GREEN BAY – On Feb. 16, the Greater Green Bay Chamber and its program partners surprised local teachers in their classrooms as they announced the class of 2023 Golden Apple recipients.

The program recognizes educators in the Greater Green Bay area for professionalism, leadership and innovation.

Through the program, eight individuals and/or teams are selected during a screening process of anonymous applications.

St. Bernard Catholic School Kindergarten Teacher Amanda Boeke was caught off as media crews entered her classroom to make the announcement on Feb. 16.

The eight-year veteran said that she “did not think this was going to happen at all. So, it’s just amazing. Right now, it’s still hard to believe, but it’s really, really great. I’ve worked really hard and it just, it’s an honor.”

Boeke said that she always knew that she was going to be a teacher.

“I actually knew I wanted to be an educator right away in high school. I just enjoy working with kids and helping them learn and grow. So starting in high school, I knew that’s what I was going go for and I stuck with that,” she recalled.

She also sees the kindergarten age group as a perfect fit for her.

“They don’t know a ton coming in. They haven’t had a lot of experience with school. So coming in, it’s just great to start with that foundation in that building block and teach them new things and see them get excited about learning,” she added.

During the application process, Boeke said that she works to build relationships with the students which allows her to be a more effective educator.

“I learn about my students by talking with them constantly. I make an effort to learn their sibling’s names, their pet’s names and their favorite things. I bring that information I have learned into my teaching, so they can make connections,” she explained.

But, Boeke’s commitment to the education process extends outside of the classroom door.

“I strive to be a leader and a colleague that people can rely on and go to for help. I have complete confidence saying that I’m a leader. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have necessarily said those words. Over the last few years, I have tried to step up within my school. I have taken on different leadership roles and have worked at bettering myself,” she said.

Boeke’s fellow recipients include: Andrew Belter, De Pere High School; Sarah Morgan, Pulaski Community Middle School; Kristen Possley, Bay Harbor Elementary School; Heather Potts, Lineville Intermediate School; Michael Smits, Parkview Middle School; Derek Zahn, Pulaski High School; and the Kennedy Elementary School Special Education Team of Madeline LaBott, Rylee Schmitt and Hope Smeester.

“I know there are a lot of people that, you know, are really grateful for educators, but we just put in so much time and effort behind the scenes. We focus everything on the kids. So it’s all about them. We don’t do anything for ourselves. So, just being able to be recognized and to recognize multiple teachers is really great.

Over the next seven weeks, the Press Times will highlight the remaining 2023 Golden Apple recipients in following spotlights.

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