LAKE FOREST– In an atrium overflowing with elated students, faculty, staff, and parents, officials from the Golden Apple Foundation surprised Lake Forest Country Day School (LFCDS) Music Teacher and Fine Arts Chair Scott Baeseman on Friday morning, March 17, as they announced him as a 2017 Golden Apple Award winner. This is Mr. Baeseman’s third time to be honored by the Golden Apple Foundation as a finalist and his first win.
Winners are awarded a semester sabbatical at Northwestern University and a $5,000 cash award. More importantly, recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, providing them a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make a difference in education.
Established in 1986, this prestigious award is given out each year and recognizes outstanding teachers for their contributions to building a stronger, better educated society. This year’s ten winners were selected from more than 600 nominees. The finalists underwent a rigorous final round of review which includes classroom observations and interviews with colleagues, supervisors, students, and parents.
The LFCDS community is pleased that Mr. Baeseman’s efforts in the classroom and beyond have been honored in this way. When asked to describe Mr. Baeseman, students and faculty alike praised Mr. Baeseman for his authenticity, professionalism, creativity, personal investment in his students, and innovation in the classroom. As a teacher, Mr. Baeseman is known not only for the excellence of his curriculum and his choral program; he also believes the art of teaching is an opportunity to create an environment that is essential to understanding how compassion and empathy may be used to bridge gaps between people. He knows his students as people, and is committed to coaching every student to achieve greatness.
“I want our students to perceive how understanding diversity will not only open up their minds to new ways of thinking, it will also enrich their friendships, travel experiences, educational journeys, career options, and overall quality of life,” said Mr. Baeseman. “Music is a natural way to introduce a variety of cultures and types of people. Through careful discussion and analysis of music from different cultures, the students quickly learn that our job together is to unpack the meaning and recognize the music’s validity for a group of people.”
Each day, Mr. Baeseman ends his music classes by encouraging his students to “go out and make a positive difference in the world,” a sentiment he embodies through his teaching and his leadership. A professional composer, his classroom models respect, trust, and supportive interaction. He is a leader in the School community, serving as the Chair of the Diversity Committee, and publishing a diversity newsletter each month that goes out to all School faculty and staff.
“Teaching has always been my calling, and I feel fortunate to be able to share my passion for music with my students every day,” said Mr. Baeseman. “I am humbled and honored to be recognized in this way. I feel as though I should be sharing this award with my extraordinary colleagues whose support makes everything possible. Being a part of the Golden Apple family allows access to extraordinary professional development that will ensure our students receive the very best tools for their music education.”
Head of School Bob Whelan congratulated Mr. Baeseman on behalf of the entire School. “Scott exemplifies the inspired teaching, academic rigor, attention to individual needs, and commitment to responsible citizenship that are at the core of our mission,” said Mr. Whelan. “His passion for teaching and learning create a lasting connection with each person he meets.”
As a premier independent school for students age two through Grade 8, Lake Forest Country Day School is dedicated to producing students of strong character with a passion for learning. Founded in 1888, Lake Forest Country Day School has continuously served more than thirty communities by providing a broad array of educational opportunities in an environment guided by the core values of excellence, participation, partnership, responsibility, and diversity.
For more information, please contact Lake Forest Country Day School at 847-234-2350.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEL LERNER/JWC MEDIA