MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a pleasant start to the week for Alicia Lief as she accepts the first Golden Apple Award of the year.
“It's wonderful, I am just in shock but I am happy, I am very excited.”
Mrs. Lief has been teaching students with special needs for 17 years, the last 12 spent at Jefferson Elementary.
“I think it really was a calling for me,” she says.
Her paraeducator Hayley Swann would agree.
“She's always the calm in the storm, when it gets difficult, she always has the answers,” says Swann.
It is one reason why she nominated Mrs. Lief for the Golden Apple Award.
“It's just amazing just how she can interact with each student and pull out the best each child has. It can be difficult but she gets them there and we can see the progress each and every day,” says Swann.
For Mrs. Lief, these kids aren't just her students, they're family.
“I am really fortunate. I have my students from kindergarten through fourth grade so it's a long time for me to build those relationships with the kids and their families and watch them grow,” she says.
So needless to say while Mrs. Lief is excited to be a Golden Apple Award winner, she doesn't need awards to feel fulfilled, her students are enough.
“Oh, it's incredibly rewarding,” says Lief.
- Golden Apple Award: Mrs. Alicia Lief, Mason City
- Golden Apple Award: Mrs. Terri Anderson
- Golden Apple Award: Mr. Russ Kramer
- Golden Apple Award: Mr. Brandon Soller
- Golden Apple Award: Mr. Justin Uhlenhopp
- Golden Apple Award: Mr. Daniel Howe, Rochester
- Golden Apple Award Winner: Mr. Sam Brown
- Golden Apple Award: Mrs. Linda Lindsay
- Golden Apple Award: Mrs. Sheryl Putz
- Golden Apple Award: Mrs. Jaralyn Pickar