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North High’s Gwen Gregg is Golden Apple finalist

January 31, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

North Fort Myers High School chorus teacher Gwen Gregg is among this year's Golden Apple Awards finalists.

A teacher of distinction and previous Golden Apple finalist, Gregg has been named a finalist among 30 of the most talented teachers in Lee County.

She is the only North Fort Myers teacher named a finalist this year, although eight have been named as teachers of distinction.

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North Fort Myers High School music teacher Gwen Gregg is again a Golden Apple Award finalist.


"It's a great honor and privilege to be nominated by your students and to go through the process and being a finalist is very humbling," Gregg said.

Gregg has been a music teacher for 36 years, teaching everywhere from kindergarten through 12th grade in numerous states. Music has been a passion for Gregg, and she wanted to pass that love to others.

"I started playing piano in kindergarten and was in band in middle school and high school, and I continued to play piano and majored in piano and music education," Gregg said.

Gregg graduated from Emory and Henry College in Virginia and began teaching elementary school in Virginia, North Carolina and even the Virgin Islands for a year before coming to Florida.

She taught in Kissimmee for 10 years, took a stop in Ormand Beach, then moved to Cape Coral in 2005, when she started at North and took over the chorus department, which needed a helping hand.

"When I came here, they had had about five chorus teachers in three years, and I came in the middle of the year, so they had it rough, no stability," Gregg said. "It was a small program. I had 32 kids in one choir and as few as 13 in others."

There are now 175 students in all the choirs. At the end-of-the-year concert they sometimes have trouble getting all the students to fit on to the stage, and the mark of Gregg's work can be seen when so many former students appear to sing the grand finale.

For Gregg, this is her third time as a finalist in the program coordinated by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. She has been named a teacher of distinction at least seven other times.

Participation in the program has helped with the application process, as has help from her students.

"I was grading the FSA writing tests and in the process, it helped me to know how to present myself on paper," Gregg said. "I learned skills from something here at school. That helped me become a teacher of distinction and finalist."

To be a finalist annually takes much effort and a commitment to update and challenge yourself to change along with the times.

"I strive every year to try new things and strategies, even if it's reading, and I portray that through its application. Maybe they see some innovation and that I'm trying new things." Gregg said.

If Gregg wins, she would be the eighth teacher at North High to be awarded a Golden Apple. Honorees'pictures are on the wall in the main office, and Gregg would like to have hers there as well.

"I would love to have my picture there. Maybe the third time is a charm," Gregg said.

Debbie Diggs, principal at North High, said the school is excited to have Gregg named as a finalist again.

"She brings a level of expertise in the arts. She is very skilled in her craft, and the kids love her. They learn so much from her," Diggs said. "They perform from her connections not only in school but in the community. They make our community proud."

The chorus was able to perform at Disney at one of their annual candle lighting ceremonies and has performed many times at local events, such as the annual tree lighting at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center.

The Golden Apple, awarded by the foundation, was founded in 1986 as a way to honor the best teachers in Lee County. The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools has awarded 177 Golden Apples.

Every year, 2,000 nomination forms are submitted each year. Nominees must then apply of the award and a selection committee reviews the applications and names 30 finalists and 72 teachers of distinction.

Those finalists are interviewed and observed in their classrooms by the selection committee and six teachers are chosen as recipients of the Golden Apple Award.



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