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Campus News / News

Student becomes first Master of Education Golden Apple Foundation scholarship recipient

06/23/2020 7:48 am

Reprinted article by Jennifer Stark, with permission from the Golden Apple Foundation.

The Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford ( announced the very first recipient of its Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship to the Master of Education program at Rockford University. Each candidate for the scholarship was required to first gain acceptance into RU’s program, then submit letters of recommendation and an application including an essay to Golden Apple. A committee including Golden Apple Academy members reviewed the documents, then virtually interviewed finalists before reaching their decision.

4 people standing on a porch wearing masks
Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship winner Meghan Baylor with her parents and Rockford University President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D.

We congratulate Meghan Baylor of Rockford, who has been teaching for eight years, the last four as a French teacher at Boylan High School. Meghan may teach language courses, but she is also known in the Rockford arts community as a teaching artist with Rockford Area Arts Council and as faculty with Rockford Dance Company. Each fall, she directs a children’s production of “The Polar Express,” presented as a field trip performance for area schools. As a lower-income student whose life was shaped by excellent educators in RPS205’s CAPA program, Meghan takes seriously her role as a teacher to continue developing students’ minds and characters. She connects with Boylan’s low-income students, spends time in the Academic Support Center and hopes to effect change in policies concerning diversity and low-income students. As Boylan’s only French teacher, she knows the department is only as strong as she is. But with the salary offered those with just a bachelor’s degree, she has struggled to afford pursuing a master’s degree. And by supplementing her income with outside teaching activities, her time to devote to master’s courses has been limited She shared in her application that achieving her MAT from R.U. would strengthen the power of knowledge “on both the giving and receiving end.” She is eager to pursue this advanced degree which would most certainly “bolster the credentials, stability and expertise to secure [her] career for decades to come.”

Don Zimmerman was a longtime Rockford educator who helped co-found the Golden Apple Foundation here. His family, the Foundation and Rockford University, seeking another way to honor his passion of encouraging excellence in local education, united to offer this scholarship for fully paid tuition to an area teacher to earn his/her first master’s degree in Rockford University’s program.

We are pleased to offer Meghan the funds she has needed to advance her teaching skills. Congratulations!

Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that celebrates, inspires and supports educational excellence in our community through programs as teacher recognition awards, classroom project grants and mentorship from Golden Apple Academy members.