Billings is blessed with many terrific teachers, but only six will receive Gold Apple Awards this year.

It’s time to pick those Golden Apple winners, and the entire community — students, parents, grandparents, teachers and volunteers — is invited to help. The all-volunteer Golden Apple program is a decades-old tradition in our community. These awards are extra-special because the winners are selected by the community the teachers are serving.

The six award winners will be guests of honor at a luncheon on the day that the awards are announced. The awards will be presented at the Billings educator appreciation banquet on April 26.


This year, the Golden Apples will be awarded to:

  • Three K-8 teachers.
  • One high school teacher.
  • One specialist or administrator.
  • One support professional, such as a secretary, aide or custodian.

To be eligible, the educator must be working this year in an accredited Billings public, private or parochial school. Elementary school districts whose students attend Billings Public Schools for middle/high school also are eligible.

It’s easy to nominate a great educator. The brief nomination form is on the Billings Public Schools website:

Here are a few pointers for writing an award-winning nomination:

  1. Be specific. Don’t just say your nominee is a great teacher, give examples of why that is true.
  2. Be personal. Tell how this educator’s work affected you or someone you know.
  3. Don’t be too brief. The volunteers need enough information to understand why your nominee deserves a Golden Apple. Try to write at least two or three good paragraphs in the nomination.
  4. If a student wants to nominate an educator, parental guidance may be needed to ensure it is written with enough detail.

Nominations are open now and must be submitted by March 8.

The Golden Apples wouldn’t exist without a troop of dedicated volunteers, once again led by two retired educators, Sue Bach and Rilla Hardgrove. They co-chair the Golden Apple Committee of 11 volunteers who recruit additional community volunteers to read and evaluate the nominations. (All identifying information is removed from nominations before they are scored.)


Volunteers help with community fundraising to cover the cost of the luncheon, banquet and gifts for the Golden Apple winners. These same volunteers also help with preparations for the April educator banquet, including creating videos of award winners and district retirees. The Educator Appreciation banquet also recognizes Billings Public Schools’ 25-year employees, those retiring this year, Billings Education Foundation grantees and the Billings Education Association annual award winners. Thanks to the volunteers that make this educator recognition possible.

Now about those Golden Apple nominations. If you know a teacher or other Billings educator who went above and beyond expectations to help students learn or who is an outstanding mentor or role model for students, get your nomination in by March 8.