Teacher selected as finalist for Golden Apple award


Lisa Washington Kuzel

Kindergarten teacher Lisa Washington Kuzel, a two-time Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching finalist, reads a story to her students March 2.

Peter Pu, News Editor

A Laboratory Schools early childhood teacher is a finalist for a major teaching award.

Kindergarten teacher Lisa Washington Kuzel was recognized as a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, a prestigious award for educators, honoring the positive impact she makes on her students.

According to the Golden Apple press release, 32 pre-K to third grade teachers in Illinois were selected as finalists out of 708 nominations. Among the finalists, award recipients will be selected to receive a $5,000 award along with a sabbatical opportunity at Northwestern University. 

Ms. Washington Kuzel has taught at Lab for 29 years and also earned the Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction in 2018. 

“I feel triply blessed that a second time in three years to be nominated again and then also chosen as a finalist,” Ms. Washington Kuzel said. 

Ms. Washington Kuzel said she suspects that the nomination came from a parent. In the classroom, she strives to build trust with her students, which allows her to instill in them a love for learning. 

“Being able to establish really good close relationships, I think makes all the difference,” Ms. Washington Kuzel said, “and I think one thing that I am good at is recognizing kind of how important that is to the whole process to begin with.”