WBMS teacher Ashley William receives 2019 Golden Apple Award

William Byrd Middle School teacher Ashley Williams was awarded the 2019 Golden Apple Award by the Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation, the single highest honor presented to a teacher by the Foundation. The award comes with a check for $3,000 and a one year lease on a Subaru Ascent from First Team Auto Mall.

The Roanoke County Public Schools Education Foundation has awarded its highest honor, the Golden Apple Award, to Ashley Williams, a sixth grade English and reading teacher at William Byrd Middle School.

She will represent Roanoke County as its nominee for Virginia Teacher of the Year.

The presentation was made at the Holiday Inn Valley View on February 20.

Apple Award winners are teachers who “go above and beyond” to make a positive impact on their students, academically or personally.

Each year the Education Foundation asks students, parents, co-workers, and administrators to nominate teachers for the Golden Apple Award. This year 105 teachers were nominated. They then completed an application form with 18 semi-finalists selected to submit a video of a classroom lesson.

As the Golden Apple Award winner, Williams received a check for $3,000 and the use of a brand new 2019 Subaru Ascent for one year, courtesy of First Team Auto Mall. Its custom plates read “GR8-TCR” (Great Teacher).

“Ashley is a phenomenal teacher in all respects,” said WBMS Principal Todd Kageals. “Her technical skills (instruction methodology, classroom management, etc.) are on a level that only experienced, dedicated teachers attain.  However, it’s Ashley’s ability to connect with her students that makes her such a great teacher.  Ashley genuinely cares about her students. She builds relationships with kids which causes them to want to work hard for her. Ashley specifically asks to teach our most needy students year after year.  Ashley’s technical skills, combined with her ability to build positive relationships with her students, combine to make her our ‘Golden Apple.’”

“No one is more deserving of the Golden Apple Award than Ashley William,” said W.E. Cundiff Principal Ashley McCallum. “She is one of the best teachers that I have ever had the pleasure of working with during my educational career. She is a positive role model for our middle school students and puts her heart and soul into every lesson to take students to the next level of learning.  In addition, she was a fabulous administrator at Green Valley where she served as the assistant principal for four years alongside me. We were the A Team (Ashley and Ashley). I am blessed to call her my friend. She’s amazing!”

Williams said she works “with the best group of people at William Byrd Middle School— great co-teachers, students, and administrators” who make her job a joy.

The Education Foundation also named three Red Apple Winners representing elementary, middle, and high school levels. Each Red Apple winner received a check for $1,500.

Red Apple winners were:

  • Traci Altice, second grade teacher at Bonsack Elementary
  • Jeffrey Maynard, special education teacher at Northside Middle School
  • Terry Haynie, choir/music theory teacher at Glenvar High School

“Traci Altice has a true passion for teaching students,” said Bonsack Principal Leanne Leftwich. “She takes the time to form relationships with students while educating them in the second grade SOLs.  Mrs. Altice is a team player with her grade level, nurturing to her students, and engages students in learning on a daily basis.  She is a true model who shows excitement, knowledge, and drive for educating students.  The Bonsack community is fortunate to have this excellent teacher educating their students.”

The foundation also recognizes a new teacher who has taught in Roanoke County for three years or less with the Green Apple Award, which comes with a check for $500. The 2019 Green Apple Award went to Kristen Sink, a third-grade teacher from Oak Grove Elementary.

The five winners were chosen by a committee made up of Foundation Board members, administrators, teachers, parents, and community members.

The 31 Vinton area teachers nominated for 2019 Golden Apple awards were:


  • Bonsack Elementary—Jennifer Hancock, Dustin King, Allison Underwood, and Traci Altice
  • Herman L. Horn Elementary—Kristen Bray, Shelly Dix, Lindsey Hall, Michelle Lionberger, Amanda Lusk, Betsey Miles, and Macy Snead
  • Mount Pleasant Elementary—Lynez Humphries, Crystal Kincer, Krista Lyle, and Allison Angell
  • W. E. Cundiff Elementary—Cindy Day, Lindsey Quirin, and Jessica Duffy
  • William Byrd Middle School—Robin Nixon, Erin O’Donnell, Kim Sarver, Ben Watts, and Ashley Williams
  • William Byrd High School—Matt Bartley, Mitchell Burkhardt, Melissa Carr, Cherrybell Damasco-Farrington, Marc Hinkle, Mark Mailhot, Barbara McGrath, and Ashton Eubank

All nominees who attended the ceremony received $25 gift cards from Kroger. The names of all nominees were entered in a drawing with the winner receiving a $100 gift card. This year’s $100 winner was Kristen Sink from Oak Grove.

“We had a very difficult task selecting a single teacher to be the Golden Apple Award winner,” said Education Foundation Board President Jason Sandizimier. “We are incredibly fortunate to have so many incredible and dedicated teachers in Roanoke County. We’re proud to recognize all these great teachers.”

“Educating young people is so vital for the future success of our communities and great teachers make that happen,” said David Dillon, president and general manager of First Team Auto Mall. “As a family-owned company that believes in supporting the communities we serve, First Team is honored to support outstanding teachers and celebrate their efforts.”

John Carlin from WSLS once again served as emcee for the Golden Apple Awards presentation. He shared some statistics about the history of the Education  Foundation and the Apples of Distinction awards.

The Roanoke County Education Foundation was created in 1991 as a non-profit organization to help young people in Roanoke County Public Schools meet some of their educational and personal goals. The Foundation provides scholarships for graduating seniors, classroom grants for innovative teachers, assists with student travel to attend state and national competitions, provides resources for international education, and assists students in remedial education and substance abuse programs.

Since 1991, the Foundation has provided over $1 million in scholarships to 1,800 graduating seniors, more than $300,000 in classroom scholarships to more than 1,700 teachers, and more than $300,000 to support travel and educational programs— totaling over $1.6 million in support of teachers and students in Roanoke County Public Schools.

Since Apples of Distinction were first awarded in 2004, teachers from Vinton area schools have won the Golden Apple 10 times. Those awards went to Cheryl Brenton (WEC), Katie Sandlin (WBMS), Dana Hoos (Mount Pleasant), Barbara McGrath (WBHS), Suzanne Witcher (Bonsack), Kathy Barber (WEC), Melissa Carr (WBHS), Betsey Miles (HLH), Tracy Broughman (Mount Pleasant), and now Ashley Williams (WEC).

One of the Education Foundation’s fundraising events is coming up on March 23— the sixth annual Backpack Run at Green Hill Park in Salem with 5K and 10K races. Registration is now open at

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