Central Elementary teacher wins Golden Apple

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 5:50 PM CST
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CAMP POINT, Ill. (WGEM) - Central Elementary first-grade teacher Ashley Zimmerman was the recipient of the WGEM Golden Apple Award in December.

Zimmerman has spent nearly her entire 17-year teaching career at Central Elementary. For her, there’s no place like home.

“It’s just extra special knowing I graduated from here and walked these halls, the same green carpet that we had back then that we have now,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman says she knew as a little girl that she wanted to become a teacher.

“I saw the great things my mom and her teacher friends did and I just wanted to carry that on,” Zimmerman said.

Ashley Flesner’s son Kase is a student in Zimmerman’s class. She nominated Zimmerman for the Golden Apple Award. Flesner says Zimmerman’s love of teaching is evident in her students’ love for learning.

“She just really cares about them and they realize that and they work really hard for her,” Flesner said.

“She helps us get more smarter and smarter, so we can go up to second grade,” first-grade student Kinley Demoss said.

“She’s always reading books to me and I really love it,” first-grader Brooklyn Cassens said.

Flesner says her son Kase used to struggle with reading and writing, but thanks to Zimmerman he now enjoys it.

“He comes home and he will write and read for fun,” Flesner said. “I’ll be making something for supper and he’ll grab a pen and paper and write down the recipe and how to do it.”

“I do a lot of fun things, like spelling,” first-grader Kase Flesner said.

Zimmerman says watching her students succeed is what she loves most about teaching.

“Seeing the kids light bulbs come on. Getting them from not feeling confident in themselves to owning their own learning and being able to apply what we do in the classroom,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman’s love of teaching is now inspiring the next generation of Central panthers to love learning.

Zimmerman says honoring educators and giving out the Golden Apple Award is recognition of the hard work everyone in the profession puts in.

“It’s for every teacher that stays up late and grades papers, who chooses not to go to a family function because they want to go out and get something for the classroom,” Zimmerman said.

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