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Bayshore teacher is a Golden Apple finalist

February 19, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Golden Apple recognition is not new for Lindsey Maxwell.

The fifth-grade social studies and language arts teacher at Bayshore Elementary is now a finalist after being named a Teacher of Distinction last year.

Maxwell said she was ecstatic over being recognized last year. This year is beyond even that.

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Lindsey Maxwell

"When I learned I was a finalist it was a whole 'nother realm of excited. I don't know who nominated me, and I won't know unless I win, which is the least favorite part of the process," Maxwell said.

Maxwell said she never thought she wanted to be a teacher when she was younger. She wanted to be a journalist. But when her niece got sick and she went to take care of her, she found her calling.

"I found my love for working with kids. My sister is going into her 16th year teaching (and was a Golden Apple winner in 2011) and she told me I had a gift and maybe should take up teaching," Maxwell said. "I started observing her and I said this felt like home."

Maxwell, a product of the Lee County School System, started at Harns Marsh Elementary in Lehigh Acres, where she was part of a team that turned a failing school to an "A" school before earning a rare opening at Bayshore two years ago.

At Bayshore, she has developed a reputation for being one of the least conventional teachers. She lets the children guide their own discussion while learning instead of straight lecture.

It's her way of developing leaders and teaching the whole child instead of just having them regurgitate facts.

"Sometimes it means standing up on your chair when you have something to say and being respectful even if you disagree," Maxwell said. "We work on leadership qualities that CEOs look for. So, I'm preparing the kids for what they might be looking forward to."

Maxwell said it may look a little crazy in her classroom, but she knows that learning is going on because she sees it.

By talking to other Golden Apple winners, she said they all seem to have a little something that makes them unique, which is where she got her teaching style from.

"I had to ask what might be my thing that makes me different from someone else and make my kids remember everything I taught them and not just say that they had me as a teacher," Maxwell said.

Principal Ben Ausman said Maxwell as very deserving of the honor.

"She has great relationships with the students and faculty. She's a great fit here. She works really hard and we're just so excited for her," Ausman said. "She's very creative and likes to do projects with the kids and works outside the box of traditional teaching."

The Golden Apple is awarded annually by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.



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