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Nester named 2020 Golden Apple Winner, Churchill named 2021 Golden Apple Winner

The Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 and 2021 Golden Apple Awards.  The Golden Apple Award is the highest honor that is presented annually to a teacher in Roanoke County Public Schools.

The 2020 Golden Apple Award winner is Marianne Nester, a third-grade teacher at Bonsack Elementary School.  She has been teaching for 32 years.  Nester says she prides herself in making active and fun math lessons for her students each day to make her students’ learning experience engaging and purposeful.

The 2021 Golden Apple Award winner is Mandy Churchill, a second-grade teacher at Clearbrook Elementary School.  She has been teaching for five years.  Churchill says she finds ways for her students to satisfy their own curiosity while she creates clear goals for her students’ level of success.  She says that by providing choices, students have a higher level of engagement and a greater degree of ownership and responsibility in their learning.

Each year the Education Foundation recognizes the top educator at each instructional level (elementary, middle and high).  These teachers are presented with the Red Apple Award.

The 2020 Red Apple Award winners are:

  • Elementary:  Nola Causey – W.E. Cundiff Elementary School
  • Middle:  Amanda Rupe – William Byrd Middle School
  • High:  Chris Overfelt – Burton Center for Arts & Technology


The 2021 Red Apple Award winners are:

  • Elementary:  Krista Lyle – Mount Pleasant Elementary School
  • Middle:  Paige Mitchem – Cave Spring Middle School
  • High:  Katie Hetherington – William Byrd High School


The Education Foundation presents the Green Apple Award each year to an educator who has been teaching for three years or less. 

The 2020 and 2021 Green Apple Awards are presented to:

  • 2020:  Allison Underwood - Bonsack Elementary School
  • 2021:  Tessa Urgo – Penn Forest Elementary School

“We are so proud of our 2020 and 2021 winners,” said Kim Frampton, president of the RCPS Education Foundation.  “Each year, the process of selecting our winners becomes more and more challenging.  We were very impressed with how all our winners work to make learning fun and engaging,” Frampton said.

“We are thankful to the Education Foundation for their continued support of our students and teachers,” said Dr. Ken Nicely, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools.  “We have so many amazing and inspirational teachers in Roanoke County Public Schools and we’re grateful to all our teachers for their continued dedication,” Dr. Nicely said.

“We also would like to thank First Team Auto for sponsoring the Golden Apple Awards.  With their support, we are able to provide financial prizes for each of our winners,” Frampton said.

Each Golden Apple Award winner received $550, each Red Apple Award winner received $350, and each Green Apple Award winner received $250.


2020 and 2021 golden apple award winners

Click this link for more photos from the awards reception.


About the Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation:

The Roanoke County Education Foundation was created in 1991 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization to help young people in Roanoke County Public Schools meet some of their educational and personal goals.  Our mission is to promote the advancement and further the aims and goals of Roanoke County Public Schools through the development and application of donated financial resources.  We provide student scholarships for graduating seniors, classroom grants for innovative teaching ideas, and assist with financial support for educational initiatives.

Support for these programs comes from corporate and private contributions.  To make a donation, go online to or call Chuck Lionberger at 540-562-3900 ext. 10262.