St. Raphael School second-grade teacher Kasey Trees has been named a recipient of the prestigious Golden Apple Award by the Archdiocese of Washington for 2020. Each year, the archdiocese honors 10 outstanding educators for their excellence in teaching and for their commitment to Catholic education. Normally, the ADW superintendent of schools makes a surprise announcement in front of the entire student body, but, with campuses closures due to covid-19, the announcement was made on a staff meeting over Zoom. The video call included ADW Superintendent of Schools Bill Ryan and associate superintendents Wendy Anderson and Kelly Branaman.
"This is such an honor," said Trees, who quickly credited others for helping her win the award. "I couldn't do what I'm doing without the help of everybody that I'm working with. It was a big surprise, and I really do appreciate it—my school community, my kids, my parents, my everybody—it's just an amazing gift."
The plan to surprise Trees included having a team of five people waiting outside her home, ready to present her with a banner, cake, and flowers. When Principal Teri Dwyer was to announce the award, she was going to ask Trees to go out her front door. Trees got the last laugh, however, when the team learned that she wasn't home and had decided to leave the house—for the first time in eight weeks—to jump on the Zoom call from Cambridge, Maryland.
SRS parent Stephanie Klinger nominated Trees for the award. "Mrs. Trees has an incredible amount of patience, experience, faith, and enthusiasm in her teaching that brings out the best in her students—and Isaac is a perfect example of that," Klinger wrote in her nomination letter. "My son became such an improved version of himself during his second-grade year with Mrs. Trees. Seeing my hesitant, reserved child change into a confident, self-advocating young boy still brings tears to my eyes."
Trees joined the staff of SRS in 2010, having taught previously at St. Raphael Nursery School as well as at St. Jane de Chantal and St. Patrick’s. This is the third Golden Apple Award for a member of the teaching staff of SRS, which opened in 2006. Previous winners include Jerry Nash in 2019 and Patty Quinn in 2014.