Cape High teachers are the apples of our eye


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Barrel of Golden Apples: Teachers at Cape High are recognized by the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program.

Every year students in Lee County fill out over 6000 nomination forms to elect their favorite and most dedicated teachers to receive the Golden Apple Award.  This award is presented to teachers who have made a dramatic impact on students’ lives and continue to inspire inside and outside of the classroom.

At Cape Coral High School, three teachers were acknowledged for their hard work and dedication by their students. Ashley Koehler was nominated to be a Golden Apple Finalist.

Koehler is an International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Psychology teacher. She has been teaching at Cape High for nine years and has been nominated as a teacher of distinction a total of five times. This year, however, is her first year as a finalist.

Nearly 100 teachers were nominated for this honor, and Koehler has made it into the top 30. As a finalist, Koehler will be observed by 12 professionals over the course of five weeks. She will then be interviewed to determine whether she’ll be presented as one of the six teachers who will receive the final award.

Koehler hopes that her students have nominated her because of the amount of effort she puts into teaching, and she hopes she enlightens them.

“I hope they nominated me because I hope that they find that I being a passion to teaching that maybe inspires them. I hope that they nominated me because they know that I’m willing to put a lot of work into their success,” Koehler said.

Along with Koehler, Jamie Ayres, an English teacher at Cape, was also nominated to receive the Golden Apple award. She received an award of distinction recognizing her for hard work and dedication in the classroom.

This year is her third year filling out the application process after being nominated for the award. In the past, Ayres has thought of the Golden Apple awards as a competition to see who is the best teacher. “I used to look at the Golden Apple as this competition that I didn’t want to compete with other teachers because we’re all amazing,” Ayres said.

However, after discussing her view with English teacher Kelly Seaton a few years ago, Ayres’ point of view on the award completely changed and inspired her to apply.

“When I was [at the dinner], the guy who runs the whole thing gave this speech, and he said something like, ‘Remember these aren’t the six best teachers in Lee County, these are representatives of all the wonderful teachers we have in the county and around the state of Florida’,” Ayres said.

Through the Golden Apple, Ayres was able to form bonds with other teachers. “I formed friendships with people that I am really close to now, and that I know I will be friends with the rest of my life, so that in itself was totally worth it to me just to bond with other teachers around the district from all different levels and bounce ideas off of them,” she said.

Koehler and Ayres weren’t the only ones who were nominated for the Golden Apple and received an award. Dana Isaac also was presented as a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction.

Isaac is a Theory of Knowledge and International Baccalaureate chemistry teacher at Cape High. Isaac works tirelessly to improve her students’ learning environment, and for that reason, is honored to be nominated for the Golden Apple.

“It means a lot to me because I try really hard to come in and do the best job every day I can. I try so hard to come up with lessons that I think will benefit students, that will teach them about life and help them prepare for their future success,” Isaac said.