Class Acts – March 2019

School news from Marion County Public Schools

Teachers Shine at Golden Apple Gala

It’s always a black-tie affair when educators gather at Circle Square Cultural Center, especially for the 29th annual Golden Apple Gala. Skillfully orchestrated by the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, this event showcases teachers from every public school, spotlighting five in the process who received Golden Apples. From these five, one was chosen to represent all. 

2019 Marion County Teacher of the Year

Hollie Cunningham, West Port High

In the classroom just five years, Hollie teaches Medical Skills, Health Science Foundations, Certified Nursing Assisting and Electrocardiograph Technician classes to hundreds of students. Her students’ passing rate on state certification exams is 100 percent, and every single student who has graduated from her program was immediately employed in the local health care industry. 



2019 Rookie Teacher of the Year

Karla Cavalier, Shady Hill Elementary

Karla’s brand new to the teaching world and the art classroom at Shady Hill Elementary. She uses her creative abilities developed as an interior designer and gymnastics instructor to help her students shine. “Never do for a child what a child can do for themselves,” she says, and Karla tries to be real with her 637 students, helping them understand not every day can be the greatest. 



Other Golden Apple Class of 2019 members:

Brian StephensonBelleview High

Teaching for 13 years, including the last three in Marion County, Brian Stephenson leads learning in his social studies classrooms with subjects like European History, Economics and Divinity Classical Studies. In fact, his students excel, with marks nearly 20 percent higher than the state average. Brian strives to produce better citizens in the community.

Jessica CarterDr. N.H. Jones Elementary

With 23 years of experience, Jessica’s been in Marion County classrooms for the last three years. As a third-grade teacher, Jessica proudly confesses she “becomes what my students need.” Her classroom comes alive with joy, motivation, imagination, laughter, innovation, creativity, collaboration, risk taking and respect.

Emily CookForest High

Emily joined the school district 20 years ago and previously taught the deaf/hard of hearing. This year, she helps students with Algebra I and credit recovery courses. She believes success is more than just academic and regularly convinces her students to take part in community events

Amy OwensbyHillcrest School

Keeping watchful eyes on prisoners wasn’t enough for Amy Owensby, who had quite a successful naval career. Nor was being her school’s 2011 rookie teacher of the year. Today, Amy teaches students with special needs and helps them develop the confidence, skills and communication abilities they need.

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