The first Crystal Apples were presented in 1997 and the last in 2019, as seen here with this award. Salem-Keizer Public Schools, in partnership with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, is bringing the awards event back.

Nearly 90 local educatorshave been nominated for a coveted Crystal Apple and will be honored at an awards gala Feb. 10 at the Salem Convention Center.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools announced the nominees late Thursday after the Statesman Journal’s print deadline. The district, in partnership with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, is resurrecting the awards program after a three-year hiatus.

The Crystal Apple Awards recognize public and private school teachers, administrators and support staff.

Tickets for the 24th annual awards, to be held for the first time at Salem Convention Center, are $30 and available online. The price increases to $35 Jan. 26, according to the chamber’s ticket site.

The awards have long been considered the local “Oscars of teaching.”

The red carpet before the 2019 Crystal Apple Awards at the Historic Elsinore Theatre in downtown Salem.

The first Crystal Apples were presented in 1997. In the early years, it was a joint effort of the district and chamber and sponsored by area businesses. The awards were presented each November at an event first staged at the Salem Armory and then moved in 2006 to the Historic Elsinore Theatre, where nominees received red-carpet treatment.

The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation was heavily involved until the nonprofit dissolved in 2020, leaving an organizational void. The last Crystal Apple Awards were presented in November 2019.

The school district and Salem chamber put a call out in October for 2023 nominations. Community members, students, parents and co-workers were invited to submit nominations. Nominees had to be current employees with a minimum of three years of consecutive employment with their current employer.

The 89 nominations are a record, according to the Statesman Journal archives. The average number of nominations in the 23-year history of the event had been 51. In 2003, there were a previously high 86 nominations.

A selection committee traditionally reviews the nomination packets — including three letters of support describing how the nominee provides a learning environment that promotes academic excellence and serves and inspires students to reach their potential — and chooses about a dozen recipients.

The winners are revealed the night of the gala.

Here are the nominees, in alphabetical order:

  • Irma Aguilar, SKPS Migrant Education
  • Jeanette Aguirre, Roberts High School
  • Erin Ahlquist, SKPS Early Childhood
  • Harry Ahn, Blanchet Catholic School
  • Favi Baez, Grant Community School
  • Merri Bath-McDonald, McKay High School
  • Gilberto Bedolla, South Salem High School
  • Patrick Bartsch, Leslie Middle School
  • Jessica Beus, Swegle Elementary School
  • Alyssa Bond, North Salem High School
  • Kathy Bowers, Candalaria Elementary School
  • Christine Bowlby, EDGE Program
  • Tony Brandt, SKPS Student Services
  • Caryn Brooks, SKPS Student Services
  • Margaret C. Hill, Bush Elementary
  • Michael Cape, SKPS Transportation
  • Katelyn Coburn, Leslie Middle School
  • Pat Curran, Whiteaker Middle School
  • Kelsey Daniels, SKPS Technology
  • Michael Daniels, SKPS Technology
  • Ashley Delarosa, Claggett Creek Middle School
  • Rachel Dixon, Judson Middle School
  • Anna Edison, EDGE Program
  • Marilyn Edwards, Schirle Elementary School
  • Curtis Fisher, CTEC
  • Sheila Gebhardt, SKPS Music and Theater
  • Artonya Gemmill, EDGE Program
  • Bethea Gliebe, Sumpter Elementary School
  • Jessica Goinez, Myers Elementary School
  • Mateo Gonzalez, Parrish Middle School
  • Amber Green, Battle Creek Elementary School
  • Jason Gundlach, Candalaria Elementary School
  • Ramon Gutierrez, SKPS Migrant Education
  • Micki Halsey Randall, Blanchet Catholic School
  • Ben Handrich, South Salem High School
  • Stephen Haner, Claggett Creek Middle School
  • Bridget Hawley, Harritt Elementary School
  • Scott Johnston, McKinley Elementary School
  • Kathleen Jonathan, SKPS Student Equity, Access and Advancement
  • Sarah Keck, South Salem High School
  • Stacy Kilgroe, West Salem High School
  • Angela Lague, Houck Middle School
  • Janet Linares, South Salem High School
  • Dalton Lindsey, Straub Middle School
  • Richell Lutz, Englewood Elementary School
  • Jennie Madland, Leslie Middle School
  • Jenny Martinez, Hammond Elementary School
  • Reggie Maxwell, Valley Inquiry Charter School
  • Denny McCarthy, Straub Middle School
  • Kyle McGrath, McNary High School
  • Celia Miramontes, Scott Elementary School
  • Daniel Monroy, South Salem High School
  • Carl Mucken, Queen of Peace Catholic School
  • Sheila Muller, Harritt Elementary School
  • Hortencia Navarrette, Bush Elementary School
  • Rahel Owenya, SKPS Language Services
  • Jeremy Parker, Auburn Elementary School
  • Karen Perez, SKPS Elementary Curriculum
  • Maija Peters, Harritt Elementary Peters
  • Lisa Pierson, Judson Middle School
  • Jacqueline Pope, Sprague High School
  • Dennisa Pozos Gonzales, West Salem High School
  • Denise Proudfoot, South Salem High School
  • Dustin Purnell, Parrish Middle School
  • Ariana Recher, Wright Elementary
  • Cynthia Richardson, SKPS Equity, Access and Advancement
  • Joel Rocha Torres, Swegle Elementary School
  • Vinnie Rolfness, South Salem High School
  • Maricela Ruiz Herrera, McKay High School
  • Rachel Ryan, Leslie Middle School
  • Rick Saffeels, Candalaria Elementary School
  • Jody Saunders, Crossler Middle School
  • Jessica Solis Flor, Roberts High School
  • Megan Spickerman, Chapman Hill Elementary School
  • Gabriella Steinlicht, Kennedy Elementary School
  • Tanya Stevens, Pringle Elementary School
  • Sarah Theis, Highland Elementary School
  • Tim Thomas, Wright Elementary School
  • George Thomson, West Salem High School
  • Karla Tibbits, West Salem High School
  • Dena Turner, Stephens Middle School
  • Denny Van Wyck, Brush College Elementary School
  • Marisa Varay, West Salem High School
  • Alyssa Veliz, Yoshikai Elementary School
  • Kevin Vignery, Grant Community School
  • Sherry Waters, Scott Elementary School
  • Greg Watson, Clear Lake Elementary School
  • David Whetzel, Scott Elementary
  • Alina Yory, Hallman Elementary School





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