2024 Crystal Apple Award Winners

2024 Crystal Apple Award Winners

Over 600 nominations describing amazing teachers poured in, and thousands of votes were cast. Now, the time has come to reveal the winners of our 10th Annual Crystal Apple Awards.

Every year, School Specialty invites educators and school communities to nominate deserving teachers who embody our key contest criteria of inspiration, leadership, and passion. This year’s nominees were all truly inspiring and deserving of this honor!

We selected 10 finalists and invited you to vote for the top 3 winners. Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations and voted. More importantly, thank you to all the teachers who inspire students and their communities daily with their passion and dedication.

Here are the 3 Outstanding Winners!

Congratulations to our three winners! Each winner receives a Crystal Apple trophy, a $500 School Specialty merchandise certificate, and a $250 School Specialty merchandise certificate for their school.

Typhani Russo, Commonwealth Charter Academy

Typhani Russo has been teaching for 8 years and has positively impacted hundreds of young people’s lives. Not only does she teach 4th grade, but she also teaches her students the most important lesson of all: how to be a compassionate human being.

As the founder of her own non-profit organization, Bookworms Against Bullies, she inspires her students to overcome bullying and proactively make a difference in the lives of others.

Her impact is so great that one student and her friends held a lemonade stand and used the money they earned to buy a new pair of sneakers for a classmate. In 2021, her students surprised her when they stopped playing during recess and began picking up trash around the school’s perimeter. This soon became a daily occurrence, so Typhani supplied gloves and bags and joined them.

Mercedes Salas, Uvalde Elementary School

mercedes salas

Mercedes Salas teaches 4th grade in Uvalde, Texas. She has been propelled through her strength and bravery to become a hero to all around her.

Despite the challenges she endured, her passion for the students in the community compelled her to return to the classroom.

To her students, Mercedes is more than a teacher. Her constant love, kindness, and support have impacted many of her students’ lives.

Her students love her because she truly and genuinely cares about their well-being and success. She goes above and beyond for them, and they see it.

Julie Pfeifer, Abraxas School of Ohio

julie pfeifer

Julie Pfeifer started her teaching career later in life. She attended college at the same time as her son, with her daughter in junior high, and graduated with honors while raising her family.

Julie has written numerous grants to provide students with new opportunities. She has written curricula for new courses, including a Lifeskills class where the students earn certifications, write a resume, learn how to cook and sew, and learn about taxes, W-4s, W-2s, and retirement plans.

Julie teaches Algebra I and II, Geometry, and Lifeskills. She started a Book Club, an Auto Body Club, and a 3D printing Club for students to design and create. She is always planning new ways to motivate and interest her students.

Congrats to the 7 Inspiring Finalists!

The remaining 7 finalists receive a Finalist Certificate, a $100 School Specialty merchandise certificate, and a $100 School Specialty merchandise certificate for their school.

Originally published in blog.schoolspecialty.com