Arne Duncan and the Golden Apple





For 32 years the Golden Apple Foundation has given apples to their favorite teachers: Chicago’s most innovative and passionate classroom advocates. The Golden Apple Impact Award was recently presented to an equally entrepreneurial educator, Chicago’s Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama.


Secretary Arne Duncan, 2017 Impact Award recipient.

Duncan, now managing partner of Emerson Collective, leads an employment and skills-training program for young black men that already is making astonishing strides in creating better outcomes for its participants—and reducing violence.

Golden Apple founder, Mike Koldyke, remarked at the Ritz-Carleton celebration:

Arne Duncan has been a true trailblazer in education. Not only has he accepted significant challenges to improve education, but also through his tremendous leadership experience he has demonstrated dedication and a true passion for increasing educational opportunities for all students.”


Laird Koldyke and Secretary Arne Duncan.

Golden Apple’s annual fundraising celebration of education supports the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program, which prepares future teachers to thrive in the most challenging high-needs school environment where more resilient teachers are desperately needed.


Golden Apple Scholar Oscar Suarez.


2017 Golden Apple Award Recipients with Secretary Arne Duncan.

As part of the Golden Apple Scholars program, the nonprofit works to prepare and guide aspiring homegrown, minority, and highly-qualified candidates to become effective teachers in schools-of-need across Illinois for a minimum of five years. Over 600 Scholars are currently preparing to become teachers and will be able to receive lifelong support in the profession.


Abigayil Joseph, Alicia Winckler, Ryan Crosby, and Tim Cawley.

Golden Apple President and CEO, Alicia Winckler, said:

“Arne has advanced education in countless ways, including through teacher recruitment and training—a platform that is so important to Golden Apple’s work every day. We are proud of all he has achieved and applaud him for his tireless efforts on behalf of educators, students and the community.”


Golden Apple staff with Secretary Arne Duncan.


Sarah Duncan and Father Michael Pfleger.


ARC Members Lori Pluchrat and Stacey Coglianese with Secretary Arne Duncan.


Secretary Arne Duncan and his family.


CBS 2 Chicago anchor Rob Johnson, Impact Award emcee.


Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award Recipients Dana Butler, Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek, and Alan Mather with Secretary Arne Duncan.


Keren Weiss, Jen Kim, Melissa Fischer, Secretary Arne Duncan, Sarah Cobb, and Daione Mitchell.


Secretary Arne Duncan and Russell Investments.

For more information about the Golden Apple Foundation, go to To learn more about Emerson Collective, visit