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National Louis University Announces Two National College of Education Graduates Receive 2012 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education

May 12, 2012


National Louis University today announced that two graduates of its National College of Education received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. The National Louis alumnae and 2012 Golden Apple recipients, Pamela Kelly and Monique Blakes, were part of the prestigious group of 10 total exemplary teachers selected from a pool of nearly 600 nominees from throughout the Chicagoland area.With the addition of these two individuals, 59 total National Louis graduates have earned the prestigious Golden Apple Award recognition since the award was established 26 years ago. Local dignitaries and celebrities, as well as Golden Apple executives notified the recipients during surprise visits to their classrooms on May 9 and 10.

“National Louis has an exceptional track record of preparing teachers to excel in the classroom, as evidenced by our history of Golden Apple Award winners,” said Dr. Nivine Megahed, National Louis University president.

“As a university strongly routed in our reputation of educating exceptional future teachers, I am so proud of the accomplishments of our alumnae, Pamela Kelly and Monique Blakes,” said Dr. Alison Hilsabeck, dean, National College of Education. “In the National College of Education we strive to continue this track record of success for our graduates through outstanding teacher preparation, and are thrilled that these two teachers, among many others, are making such a difference in the lives of their students.”

Golden Apple has recognized outstanding Chicago-area educators annually since 1986. Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring semester sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Winners also receive a $3,000 cash award. Perhaps most importantly, Golden Apple teachers become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, providing a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make an impact, through ongoing professional development and engagement in education reform, such as the mentoring of future teachers through Golden Apple’s Scholars program. The recipients of the 2012 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be honored at a black-tie event in October at WTTW/Channel 11 Studios in Chicago. WTTW will also broadcast the awards in a one-hour television program following the event.

“On behalf of Golden Apple, we continue to be impressed with National Louis and how well its National College of Education prepares teachers to exceed expectations in the classroom,” said Dominic Belmonte, executive director of Golden Apple. “We happily join this year’s ten recipients to the legion of the Golden Apple Academy previously recognized in pursuance of our mission to transform teachers and teaching.”

2012 Golden Apple Award Winners from National Louis University:

Monique Blakes, Oscar DePriest Elementary School (Chicago), 1st grade
Monique teaches first grade to students who are bright, capable and willing learners but many lack motivation and skill, suffering from the weight of the community they live in and its powerful influences. While growing up, Monique was one of a few African-American females interested in the male dominated field of chemical engineering. She had a teacher who encouraged her to look forward. She wants to give her students a similar experience. Monique feels that good instruction means recognizing that one size doesn’t fit all and a teacher must be ready to adapt instruction for the diverse learning styles. Monique graduated in June 2005 with a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Ed from National Louis.

Pamela Kelly, Naper Elementary School (Naperville), 1st grade
Pamela employs interactive strategies to engage her students. Because of the wide range of abilities in her classroom, she often uses peer-partners so students learn from and with each other. She has found that the students are much more motivated to learn from each other. Pamela thinks this strategy is wonderful because each student feels (and) is essential to others’ learning. Pamela is also a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. Pamela graduated in August 2004 with a Master of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies in Curriculum & Inquiry from National Louis.

About National Louis University 
Founded in 1886, National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University comprised of three colleges:  National College of Education; College of Arts & Sciences; and College of Management and Business. From its inception, National Louis has provided educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations – a mission it sustains today. The University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, and others concerned with human and community development. The University ranks first in the state of Illinois for the number of graduate degrees in education conferred. National Louis is well-known for an exceptional history in teacher preparation, and continues to be a leader in educating future teachers and community leaders to succeed in urban environments. For more information, visit

About Golden Apple
Celebrating its 26th anniversary, Golden Apple began with founders Mike and Pat Koldyke and a shared inspiration — to offer outstanding teachers a level of recognition and engagement in the larger work of education reform. Golden Apple’s successful track record of integrated, innovative programs and resources enhance the quality, resiliency, and creativity of classroom teachers and improve teaching and learning throughout Illinois.  Qualified, passionate educators — including Golden Apple Award-recipients and finalists — lead a small staff of dedicated employees with functional and program expertise. A connected and committed board of directors oversees Golden Apple’s strategic direction.  Together with a larger community of expert educators, this nonprofit organization works to ensure that all Illinois children have the excellent teachers they deserve. Visit for more information.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    850 Warrenville Road
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    (888) 658.8632
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    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
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    (800) 366.6581
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