Palatine principal receives Golden Apple award as state's top school leader
Martin Da Costa received the surprise of a lifetime Wednesday, and he got to share the moment with some of his favorite people -- his students.
Da Costa, principal of Winston Campus Junior High School in Palatine, was given the 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership during a surprise celebration at the school.
Surrounded by cheering students, some carrying signs with messages like "We're Proud of You," Da Costa accepted the award, given annually to 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.
Da Costa was chosen as the winner from a record-setting field of 121 nominations reviewed by the Chicago-based Golden Apple Foundation.
"When it comes to leadership, one of the things that I aspire to be every single day is a servant leader," Da Costa told the Daily Herald in March, after he was named one of nine finalists for the prestigious honor.
As winner, Da Costa will receive a cash award of $10,000 -- with $5,000 for himself and $5,000 to the school for a project of the his choosing.
He'll also become a fellow of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators. The group helps prepare the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs and is dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.