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HVHS English teacher wins 2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Award


2024 golden apple teacher of the year winners

(Left to right:  Bailey Divers, Rosie Biggio, Matt Neale, Erin Edmonds, Tracy Addison)

“Purposeful learning happens when content connects to each student’s life.  This approach keeps learning fresh and helps students see their education as a tool for understanding themselves and the world around them.”  These are the words of Dr. Matt Neale, the 2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year, presented by the Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation.

Neale, who has been teaching for 19 years, is an English and journalism teacher at Hidden Valley High School.  As the 2024 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year, Dr. Neale becomes the nominee from Roanoke County Public Schools for the 2026 Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, and receives the use of a brand new car for one year, courtesy of Southern Team Auto.

In addition, the RCPS Education Foundation announced the winners of the Red Apple Award – the top teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  The 2024 Red Apple Award winners are:

Rosie Biggio – special education teacher at Oak Grove Elementary

Tracy Addison – English teacher at William Byrd Middle School

Erin Edmonds – English and journalism teacher at Glenvar High School

The Education Foundation also recognizes the outstanding teacher with three years or less experience with the Green Apple Award.  The 2024 Green Apple Award Winner is Bailey Divers from W.E. Cundiff Elementary School.

Thanks to a sponsorship from Southern Team Auto, the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year received a check for $1000.  The Red and Green Apple winners received a check for $500 each.  Every finalist also received a check for $75.

“More than 120 teachers were nominated and we ultimately narrowed the nominees down to 24 finalists,” said Joseph Higginbotham, president of the RCPS Education Foundation.

“Several Foundation Board members, including myself, served on the selection committee and watched each video submitted by our finalists.  The selection process was very challenging, and the committee had a difficult time selecting our final winner.  We are extremely grateful to have so many outstanding teachers in our schools,” Higginbotham said.

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