Second year in a row: all 5 Golden Apple Award winners are Purdue Education alumni

The Greater Lafayette Commerce recognized five outstanding teachers in the Greater Lafayette area with the annual Golden Apple award – and all five are Purdue College of Education alumni, for the second year in a row.

Gold Apple Award Logo

In this 36th annual year of the award, the teachers were recognized for their passion and excellence in serving young minds of the community. The College of Education is a major sponsor of this annual event.

“The College of Education is honored to be a co-sponsor of this event and the recognition these outstanding teachers deserve,” said Kathryn Obenchain, associate dean for Learning, Engagement & Global Initiatives and professor of Social Studies Education. “The teachers who receive this award exemplify the effectiveness of professional educators in the lives of children, as well as their dedication to those children.”

The five Boilermaker Educators to receive this year’s Golden Apple Awards are:

Dana Crum (BS Consumer & Homemaking Education, College of Health and Human Sciences, 2000), has been teaching for 22 years. “The favorite thing I love in the classroom is when they have an aha moment,” says Crum, a family and consumer science teacher at East Tipp Middle School. “The major thing I want them to learn is how much I care about them, and that I’m always going to be there for them, I’m their biggest fan.”

Lucas Harmon (BA Elementary Education, 2008) is in his 14th year of teaching in the West Lafayette School Corporation. “Learning can be challenging but it can also be a lot of fun and exciting,” says Harmon, a sixth grade teacher at West Lafayette Intermediate School. “It’s all worth it and to know that I was a piece of that happening is just an incredible feeling.”

Jessica Harris (BA Elementary Education, 2006) has been teaching in the Tippecanoe School Corporation for 15 years. “I teach them that anything that you do impacts somebody’s else’s day a little bit, and when you can change the world for one person even a little bit when you can change their day even a little bit, you’ve changed the world,” says this Title One teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary School.

Maribel Masoodi (BA Elementary Education, 2002), has been teaching for 19 years. “Writing and reading has really influenced my ways of teaching so I truly want my students to become lovers of books,” says Masoodi, a first grade teacher at Edgelea Elementary School. “Once a child really understands and knows that they can read they know that there are no limits, no boundaries.”

SunShine Waber (BA Early Childhood Education, College of Health & Human Sciences, 1998, with an endorsement in Special Education) has 18 years of experience and is a dedicated teacher with an amazing ability to connect with students and families to impact a child’s social development and their academic achievement. “The thing I want my students to take away is that they are loved, they are cared for, and that once they’re one of my students they always are,” says Waber, a kindergarten teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary School.

Sources: Kathryn Obenchain,; WLFI News, Great Lafayette’s Golden Apple Awards 2023; Tippecanoe School Corporation, Three TSC teachers honored with Golden Apples