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Maine EastMaine WestMaine SouthAdmin


March 9, 2023
Maine South Principal Named Golden Apple Finalist

Maine South Principal Dr. Ben Collins was named a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership finalist. A highly competitive award process resulted in the selection of six Pre-K-12th grade school leader finalists from more than 130 nominations received.

Dr. Collins has been the principal at Maine South since the 2017-18 school year and was the Maine West Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning for three years prior to leading Maine South.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth. The award winner will be named later this spring.

Among the many accomplishments under his leadership at Maine South, Dr. Collins has implemented significant belonging, equity, diversity and inclusion strategies including the formation of a building equity team, student listening sessions and dedicated staff training to building equitable classroom and athletic spaces; improved parental engagement and communications; oversaw improvements to new curricular programming; and began standards-based grading for all departments.

During his time, Maine South earned a Blue Ribbon School Award from the U.S. Department of Education and was named a Special Olympics National Unified School. 

Dr. Collins was named the North Cook Region Principal of the Year in 2022 by the Illinois Principals Association.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipients receive a cash award of $10,000, with $5,000 for the school leader and $5,000 for the school for a project of the recipient’s choosing. Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs – which are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.

The Golden Apple Foundation is the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting great educators who advance educational opportunities for students. 

“These school leaders are transformative and have shown the ability to empower teachers so their students may thrive,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “We recognize their leadership, commitment to success and dedication to elevating those they serve within their school communities.”