Scott Galson (MS06), a mathematics teacher at Walter Payton College Prep High School in Chicago, won a Golden Apple Award for Teacher Excellence this year. Only 10 teachers in the Chicago area are honored with Golden Apple Awards annually.
Galson began teaching in Chicago through SESP’s alternative certification program and went on to earn a master’s degree in education from SESP as well. Galson was a career changer, starting as a economic forecaster.
“I love teaching,” he declared on May 1 after representatives from the Golden Apple Foundation burst into his classroom to surprise him with the award. He thanked, first of all, his students as well as his family, mentors and everyone who had supported him as a teacher. Special thanks went to P.J. Karafiol, his department chair and fellow graduate of the NU-TEACH alternative certificate program, and Sylvia Smith-DeMuth, NU-TEACH director. He said he was grateful for those who saw his potential when he applied to the NU-TEACH program.
As a Golden Apple winner, Galson was selected from a pool of 510 nominations of high school teachers throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Application materials, a review and classroom observations factor into the selections. Since 1986, Golden Apple has recognized outstanding teachers.
Previously Galson won the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement in 2009, honoring him as the top AP teacher in Illinois. Siemens Awards are given each year to teachers and schools based on excellent student performance and participation in AP courses. In 2010 he was part of the Payton team that won the Intel Star Innovator Award, given to the school that best exemplifies innovative math or science programs. Galson was previously honored as a Golden Apple Foundation Fellow and a Northwestern Scott Fellow, and he earned his national board certification in 2008.
In addition to teaching, Galson coaches the Payton math team, which has won several state championships. He also developed a financial investment seminar for students. "My mathematical learning experiences with my students go beyond the walls of my classroom," he notes.
Galson's philosophy of teaching centers on developing a student-centered classroom that focuses on what is most important to learn, the ways students learn best and staying a learner himself. "I believe that the most important things for my students to learn are how to be critical and independent thinkers, maintain a curiosity of the world and have the mathematical skills to derive any facts or formulas that they may forget," he said at the time he won the Siemens Award.
Each Golden Apple Award winner receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient also receives a $3,000 cash award. Finally, award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.
Caption: Scott Galson with Sylvia Smith-DeMuth