2017 Platinum Apple Awards

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2017 Platinum Apple Awards




2017 Platinum Apple Awards

The awards was held on Friday, May 19, at the Taix Restaurant in Los Angeles. You will find each award winner video below with their respective nominating entry submitted by their Chapter Chair.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email psykes@utla.net or call 213.487.5560.

A teacher with this spirit is our greatest servant. They don’t merely fill minds, they free minds. They do more than teach facts, they inspire growth. They do more than teach boys and girls how to make a living, they teach them to live great lives. They don’t teach them what to think, they teach them how to think. They help them to know the world and to live in it as world citizens.


Such a teacher strives to pass on to their pupils the love of learning. They share with them their knowledge of books and beauty. They strive to cultivate wonder and awareness. They help them to discover themselves and their infinite possibilities. They help them to help themselves. They believe in children!


2017's Winners

Click or tap names to watch our winners doing what they do best in the classroom.

Aura Lopez
Second Street Elementary




Darrell Warren
Los Angeles Academy Middle School



Erin Fitzgerald-Haddad
San Fernando Institute of Applied Media



Lauren Frazier-Despart
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary



Maria Arreola
Camellia Avenue Elementary



Tobey Shulman
San Pedro HS Marine/Math/Science Magnet



Samantha Spencer
El Camino Real Charter HS





Aura Lopez, Second Street Elementary

Nominating Entry by Rananah Lubovitch, Chapter Chair

“Mrs. Lopez makes each child feel special. She is that remarkable teacher who can reach students who act like they don’t want to learn or act like they don’t care. She is also that teacher that makes students reach for the stars. READ MORE

She breaks down concepts and teaches in a non-threatening way. She is calm in her demeanor yet firm. Mrs. Lopez lets students know that they can learn and she will teach them. She cares. She has worm many hats; starting as an Educational Aide, to a Living Skills Counselor, Preschool teacher, Administrator Trainee, Bilingual Teacher, OCR Literacy Coach, ELD/RTI Coordinator, to presently our ETK Teacher. Dedication must be Mrs. Lopez’s middle name. She works tirelessly into the evening often into the night at home to improve student achievement. Her niece asks her, "Why do you work so hard tia?" Her response, "Because they are my kids."



Darrell Warren, Los Angeles Academy Middle School

Nominating Entry by Arthur Lopez, Chapter Chair

“Mr. Warren is an excellent classroom teacher who uses a wide variety of resources to engage his students. He spends the weekends combing community resources: libraries, factories, cultural sites, museums, websites and businesses to find interesting materials, which he brings to class and connects to the standards to get students reading, writing, discussing and thinking at a college-level. READ MORE

He runs essay and art contests and funds the prizes with his own money. He does book giveaways 3-4 times a year. He hosts school-wide events such as Literacy Night and Law Day.  He also runs a variety of clubs: Move Club, Radio Club, and a Space Club engage students in meaningful ways. He never rests.”



Erin Fitzgerald-Haddad, San Fernando Institute of Applied Media

Nominating Entry By Denise Noah, Chapter Chair

“Ms. Fitzgerald-Haddad helped write the proposal to establish this pilot school and was one of its founding teachers. When the school first opened and many things were in a state of flux, she worked hard to keep the new school running smoothly, even taking on unpaid tasks. READ MORE

She has been the Leadership Teacher for three years and in that capacity has supervised her class in organizing, preparing for and running events such as dances, extra-curricular activities, lunch-time school spirit activities, and fundraisers. Mrs. Fitzgerald-Haddad connects students’ prior knowledge, life experiences, and interests with learning goals in a variety of ways. She strives for excellence in herself, expects excellence in her students, and helps create excellence within the school. Mrs. Fitzgerald-Haddad is a remarkable teacher.”



Lauren Frazier-Despart, Marting Luther King, Jr. Elementary

Nominating Entry By Valerie Achara, Chapter Chair

“Mrs. Frazier-Despart is one of our most respected and highly regarded colleagues at our school. Mrs. Frazier-Despart has repeatedly shown that not only does she have the ability to excel in several areas of her own career, but she also has a passion for helping and assisting colleagues excel to promote student advancement and overall school improvement. READ MORE

Mrs. Frazier-Despart has received recognition for her ability to creatively teach all students.  When entering her room, you can visually see the many projects and creative learning opportunities that her students have experienced.  As a result of her work as the Gate Coordinator, King Elementary was designated a school for advanced studies. She has had meetings with parents of 5th graders to help students qualify for the U.S.C. neighborhood initiative, a program that helps students enter a program that could allow them full scholarships to U.S.C.”



Maria Arreola, Camellia Avenue Elementary

Nominating Entry By Cristina Salas, Chapter Chair

"Maria Arreola, attended Camellia Avenue Elementary and was an exemplary student. She joined our staff in 1997 and has served the school for the past 20 years. Maria is a dedicated teacher who helps her students overcome the barriers we see so often in our neighborhood. READ MORE

Whether guiding them through the challenge of learning in a second language or working through the constricting effects of poverty, Maria always provided her student with a meaningful education. She also makes it a point to be aware of the issues in their personal lives. She reached out to the families of her students to make sure the children are ready and able to take a seat in her classroom and learn. Her compassionate approach is reassuring, and in itself a quiet act of resistance during difficult times.”


Tobey Shulman, San Pedro HS Marine/Math/Science Magnet

Nominating Entry By Jennifer Ritz, Chapter Chair

“Tobey Shulman is a dedicated English teacher who is well-loved by her students. She is loving and funny with a deadpan sense of humor.  She cries every time she reads, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Les Miserables.' The kids know and love this. READ MORE

Ms. Shulman has brought survivors from the Darfur Genocide for her students to meet. She brought to campus an organization, which sets up mock refugee camps and began the 'End Genocide Now Club' at our school. She has engaged students meaningfully in global issues through literature and local activism. She opens the hearts of her students to a world that is bigger than them. She is as fired up about education now as she was 29 years ago!”



Samantha Spencer, El Camino Real Charter HS

Nominating Entry By Jason Kinsella, Chapter Chair

“Samantha Spencer has been an inspiration to both her students and colleagues. She has shown herself to be an innovative, engaging teacher who works tirelessly to meet the needs of all her students, at all levels. Early in her teaching career at El Camino, Ms. Spencer instituted the 80-20 project. READ MORE

This was a student-centered, standards-based curriculum that encouraged students to complete projects that had a direct impact on the community. Eighty percent of classroom time was teacher led, and twenty percent was completely student directed. Students’ final projects were presented to the entire El Camino community, a school of more than 3,600 students, and served as an inspiration to students and teachers alike. Ms. Spencer, without a doubt, excels in every aspect of our profession.”


The Platinum Apple Committee, Martha Bayer (Chair), Juanita Garcia, Shirley Hardley, and Carolina Saucedo were given special acknowledgement for their dedication for serving on the committee. The secretary is Princess Sykes. Videographer was Karen Doss. Photographer, Laura Aldana, UTLA staff.

Thanks to our corporate sponsor for the event: National Teachers Association.