Golden Apple Honors Winston Campus Jr. High School Principal Martin Da Costa with 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership

Winston Campus Jr. High School Principal Martin Da Costa 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipient (SOURCE: Golden Apple/Winston School image capture August 2019 ©2021 Google)
Winston Campus Jr. High School Principal Martin Da Costa 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipient (SOURCE: Golden Apple/Winston School image capture August 2019 ©2021 Google).

Golden Apple, the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting exemplary educators who advance educational opportunities for students, today on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 surprised Martin Da Costa, principal of Winston Campus Jr. High School in Palatine, with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership, presented in honor of founding Golden Apple board member Stanley C. Golder.




Following a highly competitive process, the 2021 leadership award recipients were selected from a record-setting 121 nominations of Pre-K-12th grade school leaders.

“Leaders like Martin Da Costa are the reason behind great schools, strong teachers, and successful students – they cultivate a school community that truly flourishes under their leadership, even in a year that brought numerous unforeseen challenges,” said Golden Apple President Alan Mather, the inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Leadership award. “We are honored and humbled by the resilience, passion, and commitment demonstrated by our award recipients. Martin will continue to impact the lives of students, families, and teachers by joining the Golden Apple Academy of Educators and helping us prepare the next generation of highly effective teachers for Illinois schools through our Scholars and Accelerators programs.”




The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.

“The principals we are recognizing today have set the bar for exemplary transformational school leadership,” said Alicia Winckler, Golden Apple CEO. “They have led their students, teachers, and communities through one of the most challenging years. Their support of students’ academic and social emotional needs, coupled with their commitment to the professional wellbeing of their teachers, truly showcases the integral role they play in creating and maintaining an outstanding school community.”




According to Golden Apple, Winston Campus Jr. High School Principal Martin Da Costa for the past four years, has work toward his mission to embrace diversity first in the school where the majority of students have a minority background and where all students receive free lunch. Da Costa not only values diversity in the student community but also among his staff. Under his leadership the school has made a commitment to recruit from diverse serving colleges. The school works with The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning to implement culturally and linguistically responsive instruction in all of the classrooms. As a former ESL (English as a Second Language) student who was pulled out for instruction, Da Costa ensures inclusion is prime and center in the school’s approach and he builds on his leadership experience as both an instructional coach and teacher. He calls himself the school’s “lead learner.” According to Golden AppleDa Costa is very responsive to all the needs of his students and has worked to make Winston Campus Jr. High School a community school that provides extracurricular activities for students, while also connecting students and their families to community resources. By engaging families, the school has a broader impact on student success, and they are showing higher GPAs, lower behavioral incidents, and a higher likelihood of graduation.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipients receive a cash award of $10,000, with $5,000 for the school leader and $5,000 to the school for a project of the recipient’s choosing. Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs – which are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.




The nomination period for the 2022 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership is open. All are invited to nominate exceptional high school teachers and Pre-K-12th grade school leaders in Illinois at www.goldenapple.org/awards.

Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit www.goldenapple.org for more information. for more information.

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