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Thirty Lee County Golden Apple finalists were celebrated this evening, by past winners, school officials and business leaders at a celebration at The News-Press. / Lindsay Terry/news-press.com

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Some of the best teachers Lee County has to offer mingled together with business leaders this evening at The News-Press.

All 30 finalists for the Foundation of Lee County Schools Golden Apple award were honored during the celebration.

“Obviously it’s an honor to be selected from among so many amazing teachers,” said Robert Schalmo, a first-time finalist and kindergarten teacher from Villas Elementary School. “To be in the Top 30 is fantastic. The waiting is the worst part.”

Soon Schalmo and Jamie McGougan, also a first-time finalist and fourth grade math and reading teacher from North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts, will learn if they are one of the six Golden Apple winners.

“I’ve enjoyed the observations (by the selection committee), but I just want to know,” said McGougan.

Lee County board members, school officials and local business leaders applauded the work of all of the teachers – past and present – at the celebration.

“The selection committee has the toughest job,” said Robbie Roepstorff, the Foundation’s board chairman. “Each teacher is a Golden Apple.”

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