Des Plaines principal a finalist for Golden Apple leadership award

A Des Plaines elementary school teacher is among the six finalists for the 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Lisa Bucciarelli-Carlos has served since 2018 as principal of Plainfield Elementary School, where she’s overseen the implementation of standards-based grading and new instructional methodologies, according to the Golden Apple organization.

She’s also played a crucial role in overseeing English learner and bilingual programming, Golden Apple said.

Bucciarelli-Carlos previously held leadership positions in Chicago Public Schools and professional experience includes serving as a presenter and panelist at education forums at area colleges and universities. Her work has been published in academic research and educational magazines.

She and her five fellow finalists were selected from more than 100 nominations for the award, which 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 winner is expected to be announced in the spring. That person will receive a cash award of $10,000, with $5,000 for the winner and $5,000 for their school to fund a project of the recipient’s choosing. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.

The other finalists include three principals from Chicago, one from Plano and one from Peoria.

“Each of these finalists has demonstrated transformative leadership, creating an environment that enables both educators and students to succeed,” Golden Apple President Alan Mather said Tuesday in an announcement of the finalists.

“Their dedication has uplifted their educational communities,” Golden Apple CEO Alicia Winckler added. “We are thrilled to commend their impactful work and the positive changes they've initiated.”

Last week, Golden Apple announced its 30 finalists for the Excellence in Teaching. The group included nine teachers from the suburbs: Julianne Collier of Adlai Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village; Amy Wacker of Tripp Elementary School in Buffalo Grove; Aimee Legatzke of Fox Meadow Elementary School in South Elgin; Tammy Dati of Hillcrest Elementary School in Antioch; Tania Forsman of Elizabeth Idle Elementary School in Darien; Alicia Hays of Central Elementary School in Plainfield; Alyssa Milano, also of Central Elementary School in Plainfield; Wendy Maa of John Middleton Elementary School in Skokie; and Christina Tortorello of Sherwood Elementary School in Highland Park.

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