Each spring, the Upper Arlington Civic Association recognizes outstanding staff members at Upper Arlington’s public and private schools with Golden Apple Awards. UACA directors solicit and review public nominations, then select a deserving staff member in each school.
Congratulations to the 2023 Golden Apple Award winners from Upper Arlington Schools!
Amy Adams, Barrington Elementary School
Third-grade teacher Amy Adams has been working in the Upper Arlington Schools for four years, but she has a long history with the district, starting as a student at Windermere Elementary School. She is a proud graduate of Upper Arlington High School and a proud mother of two — and soon to be three — alumni as well. “It is an honor and privilege to work with the students in UA,” she shared. “Excellent teaching relies on teamwork, and I am grateful for my teammates, my colleagues, the specialists and support staff, the administrators and the families who all work as a team to meet the needs of the students I teach. … For me, the Barrington staff and community has been an experience of welcome, hard-work, dedication, collaboration and fun. I love being a part of the Barrington Bobcat family!
Janice Daubenmier, Hastings Middle School
Social studies teacher Janice Daubenmier has spent her entire 27-year career at Hastings Middle School. “I am so lucky to have spent all of my years in education teaching at Hastings,” she shared. “I couldn't ask for better colleagues, students, and parents. It is an honor to receive the Golden Apple award - thank you.”
Susan Laux, Burbank Early Childhood School
Preschool teacher Susan Laux is going on her 37th year at Burbank Early Childhood School, where she teaches in the Turtles classroom. She started at BECS as a student teacher and never left. “My passion has always been teaching in the classroom. Forming relationships with families is an incredible part of my life,” she shared. “The most important piece these children can take away from my classroom is ‘Be kind always.’ And all my children know that ‘Once a Turtle, Always a Turtle!’”
Kristin Santilli, Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School
A 2 /3 multiage teacher, Kristin Santilli has been part of the Wickliffe staff for 11 years — but she has been part of that school community for even longer. “I love that I get to teach in the school that I attended as a child,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to work with some of my closest friends and in a school community that is loving, inclusive and supportive.”
Brian Shininger, Jones Middle School
Math teacher Brian Shininger has been with the Upper Arlington Schools for 12 years — at Barrington Elementary School for seven years and now at Jones Middle School for the past 5 years. “Jones families are THE model for how to raise conscientious, hard-working kids prepared to succeed,” Shininger shared. “They support their children every step of the way and carry that support over to the school and extracurriculars. These students and families make our job easy!”
Katie Shough, Windermere Elementary School
Second-grade teacher Katie Shough has been a part of the Windermere community for six years and has been in education 18 years. “I am so blessed to be part of the Windermere community,” Shough shared. “I get to work with the very BEST students, families, and colleagues each day. I love being a Windermere Hawk!”
Matt Stanley, District
Matt Stanley is in his first year with Upper Arlington Schools, working as the athletics site manager for middle school athletics and substitute teaching, primarily at Jones Middle School, so he can get to know the students and the district even better. "As someone who admired the prestige and excellence of Upper Arlington from afar [growing up in Columbus, Ohio], seeing things up close and meeting so many brilliant teachers, wonderful students, and incredible athletes has been everything I could have hoped for and more,” Stanley shared. He shared his appreciation for many people who have played a role in his success in Upper Arlington — including Spencer Smith, Jacob Ramsey, Nancy Prescott, Sharon Augenstein-Moran, Preston Miller and Logan Erwin. “Go Bears!”
Austin Syar, Greensview Elementary School
Austin Syar is wrapping up his second year as a third-grade teacher at Greensview Elementary School. “I feel so honored to be a part of the Greensview community,” Syar said. “It is such a joy to come to work everyday with a dedicated staff, hardworking students and supportive families. Thank you to Jason Wulf for giving me the opportunity to try new things in the classroom and generate educational experiences that create lifelong learners!”
Doug Wilson, Upper Arlington High School
Doug Wilson has been an intervention specialist for 10 years and has spent 7 years serving in that role at Upper Arlington High School. He noted that it’s a “true family affair” for his family — his wife, Kim, is a special education teacher at UAHS, their two sons attend Windermere Elementary School and Burbank Early Childhood School, and their dog, Ferris, is the facility dog at UAHS as well. “We love living and working in the community!” he shared. “I am completely flattered by the award and feel incredibly honored by the fact that students and families have enjoyed working with me through the years! Thank you!”
Jessica Zimpher, Tremont Elementary School
Jessica Zimpher has been with the Upper Arlington Schools for 17 years. She started as an intervention specialist at Hastings Middle School and then transitioned to Tremont Elementary School, where she has been a reading specialist for seven years. Her children are Tremont Lions, too. “Tremont is such a special place. The staff, students, and community make it such a warm and welcoming place to work,” she shared. “I am so lucky I get the opportunity to form such strong bonds with my students, as I often have them for several years in a row. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing them grow!”