If you know an outstanding K-12 educator in Billings-area schools, today’s the day to nominate that educator for a Golden Apple Award.

The long-standing community tradition of honoring great teachers, administrators and support personnel continues this year. Nominations should be mailed or completed online no later than Thursday.

Nominating an educator is simple. Either:

1. Write a letter telling why your nominee deserves to be honored and mail it to: Golden Apple Committee, Lincoln Education Center, 415 N. 30th, Billings, MT 59101.

2. Fill out a nomination form online at billingsschools.org.

3. Or go to the link with this Gazette opinion at billingsgazette.com.

Also, local students received nomination forms that may be mailed in.

Students, parents, teachers, colleagues and other community members are invited to make nominations.

The Golden Apples are a completely volunteer program. The volunteer co-chairs this year are Rilla Hargrove, a retired elementary principal, and Kristy Bouck, wife of Billings Superintendent Terry Bouck.

The program relies totally on donations, Hargrove noted. The Billings Chamber of Commerce is a partner in the program.

Next month, numerous community volunteers will read the nomination letters, and score the entries. Six winners will be chosen:

- Two elementary teachers.

- One middle school teacher

- One high school teacher

- One specialist or administrator

- One support professional, such as a secretary, aide or custodian.

Nominations are invited from all accredited Billings public and private schools, including all elementary schools whose middle or high school students attend Billings Public Schools and local parochial schools.

The winners are honored at a luncheon and at the annual Educator Appreciation Awards Banquet, which is set for April 25 at the Crowne Plaza.

Winners don’t necessarily need multiple letters of nomination. One compelling letter that tells clearly and specifically how this educator went the extra mile for students can cinch an award. Nominators may include the educator’s efforts in the classroom, after school and in the greater community. Nominations should tell why this educator is a good role model and how he or she made a difference in the lives of one or more students.

If you know a Billings area educator who deserves a Golden Apple, don’t delay. Nominate today!

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