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Every year since 1986, the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching selects 10 outstanding teachers in the Chicago area to be recipients of this prestigious award. In 2013, Gregory Regalado, ’05, was one of those 10 teachers.
It’s easy to see why: since 1995, Regalado has taught everything from art to photography to advanced digital imaging, as well as coached cross country and track at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois. In that time he’s earned two master’s degrees—an M.A. in art from Governors State University in 2000 and an M.A. in School Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University in 2005—all while exhibiting his own artwork in a minimum of two shows per year.
“I really try to keep on top of my craft,” Regalado said. “I tell my students that art is meant to be viewed and exhibited. I think students value and respect teachers who practice what they preach.”
As a Golden Apple Award winner, Regalado was able to do just that. Recipients of the award are given a stipend and a semester-long paid sabbatical. During that time, they’re able to take courses of their choosing at Northwestern University. Regalado chose a studio art critique class and an educational seminar on the topic of art choice. “I’m really focusing my sabbatical time on being an artist again,” Regalado said.
Like all outstanding teachers, Regalado plans to apply everything he’s learned during his sabbatical directly to his work in the classroom. “The Golden Apple Foundation wants to give teachers a break to not only recharge and regenerate, talk about education and be a student again,” Regalado said, “but also to apply what we’ve learned to our classrooms, our colleagues and our communities. I plan on doing just that.”