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Crystal Apple Awards

2021 Crystal Apple Awards

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a great deal about planning events, we are pleased to announce that we will celebrate the 23rd Annual Crystal Apple Awards. However, out of concern for the health and safety of all those involved, we will not be hosting an in-person event to celebrate the 2021 Crystal Apple Awards. Instead (and similar to the 2020 awards), we will recognize this year’s winning teachers virtually by releasing a video compilation from all nine participating school districts. Carrying on this important, twenty-three-year tradition, each winning teacher will receive a $1,000 check, certificate, and glass “crystal apple.” The 2021 Crystal Apple Awards will include nine area school districts: Columbia Burbank, Finley, Kennewick, Kiona-Benton, North Franklin, Othello, Pasco, Prosser, and Richland. Thanks to the generosity of so many, we have recognized 241 teachers throughout our community to date with this prestigious award!

Money to support the awards and gift donations for the honorees are donated by numerous regional businesses, community organizations and individuals. Since its founding in 1999, the Crystal Apple has honored 244 outstanding educators.

2021 Crystal Apple Award Winners

Congratulations to these incredible educators recognized as the 23rd Annual Crystal Apple Award recipients:

Deanne Rada, 6th-7th Grade Math, Columbia Middle School (Columbia School District)

Jennifer Yochum, 7th-12th Ag-Science, River View High School (Finley School District)

Katrina Kutschkau, High School Math, Kamiakin High School (Kennewick School District)

Rick Harding, 9th-12th Grade Resource Room, Kiona-Benton High School (Kiona-Benton School District)

Erin Glossen, 7th-8th Grade History, Olds Junior High School (North Franklin School District)

Karen Magaña, 8th Grade Math, McFarland Middle School (Othello School District)

Jacqueline Brewster, 9th -12th Grade CTE Early Childhood Education, Clothing Design, Financial Algebra, and Teen Parenting, New Horizons High School (Pasco School District)

Connie Hatchel, 6th-12th Grade Instructional Coach, and Dean Smith, 6th-12th Grade History, Highly Capable, and SWAT (Students with an Aptitude for Technology) - Housel Middle School (Prosser School District)

Linda Johnson, ECEAP Preschool Lead Teacher, Early Learning Center ECEAP Preschool (Richland School District)

Portraits of the 10 winning Crystal Apple award teachers

The Crystal Apple Awards are only possible through the support of generous community sponsors. Thanks to the many community leaders and education supporters throughout the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities, we are able to recognize the outstanding teachers making a difference each day in the lives of our students.

2021 Crystal Apple Award Sponsors

Platinum Level Sponsors ($600+)

Bechtel, Evergreen Associates, Gesa Credit Union, Johnson Controls, Pasco Kennewick Rotary, Stevens Clay, STCU, Tri-Cities Sunrise Rotary Club, Washington River Protection Solutions

Bechtel logo  Evergreen Associates logo
Evergreen Associates 
 Gesa credit union logo
Johnson controls logo  Washington river protection solutions logo  Pasco Kennewick rotary logo 
  Rotary international logo
Tri-Cities Sunrise
Rotary Club
Stevens Clay lawyer logo  STCU Credit Union logo


Gold Level Sponsors ($401-$599)

Columbia Basin Health Association, Washington Education Association (WEA), Lampson International, LLC

Columbia Basin Health Association logo   WEA logo  Lampson international logo

Silver Level Sponsors ($201-$400)

MMEC Madsen Mitchell Evenson & Conrad, Moon Security, DA Davidson, Framatome

Bronze Level Sponsors ($1-$201)

Ray Family, LLC, Packaging Corporation of America, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Crystal Apple Awards are an annual celebration that seeks to recognize public school educators who have made a positive impact on the lives of their students. The program is sponsored by community service groups, businesses, and other organizations that want to recognize and show their appreciation and support for the thousands of outstanding teachers across our region.

Program Goals:

  • Recognize and reward excellence in education in public schools.
  • Encourage creative and quality instruction.
  • Encourage the development of a positive learning environment.
  • Encourage excellent teachers to remain in education.
  • Provide incentive for individual initiative on the part of educators.
  • Contribute to the improvement of education in the area's nine public school districts.

Award History:

Originally established in 1999 as the Tri-City Crystal Apple Awards, the program sought to honor the Mid-Columbia education profession as a whole by identifying a few of the many wonderful classroom teachers in seven public school districts. The 501 (c)(3) non-profit, the Dream Builder's Educational Foundation, has managed the award program since 2010.  In 2017, two awards were expanded to include two more school districts, and the Crystal Apple Awards now recognize teachers from these nine public school districts:

  • Columbia
  • Finley
  • Kennewick
  • Kiona-Benton
  • North Franklin
  • Othello
  • Pasco
  • Prosser
  • Richland

Application Process:

Each district gathers nominations and puts forth one winner (or team of up to 4 winners). (Contact your local school district to learn more about their internal process to determine the district's Crystal Apple winner.)  Each Crystal Apple winner is also submitted as a nominee to the Washington State Teacher of the Year program. In addition, one community leader is surprised with a recognition as the Special Achievement Award winner for his/her contributions to the education community.

What Do Winners Receive?

Superintendents from the nine districts present their winners with $1,000 checks, certificates, beautiful glass “crystal apples,” and numerous other gifts provided by area businesses.

How Can I Get Involved?

The Crystal Apple Awards are only possible through the support of generous community sponsors. If you would like to learn more about the Crystal Apple Awards or how you can get involved, contact Communication & Graphics Coordinator, Molly Curtiss, at 509.544.5787 or mcurtiss@esd123.org.

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