Pena Named Golden Apple Award Finalist | Judson University Christian College

Education Alumnae Named Finalist for 2020 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching

Rogelia Pena (ELGIN, IL – March 24, 2020) Rogelia Peña ’15 was named a finalist of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in recognition of her service at Rachel Carson Elementary School in Chicago, Ill. She graduated from Judson with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Middle School, Social Science, Reading, and ESL.

“Now more than ever, it is essential to shine the light on the transformational role outstanding teachers play in the future success of Illinois and our nation. Without exceptional teachers, we cannot prepare our students to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. Thirty educators were selected as finalists, just four percent of the 732 nominations. 

Reflecting on the award, Ms. Peña said, “[I felt] validated. I was initially delighted and surprised when I heard about being a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for excellence in Teaching, but then I felt mostly validated by God.” Ms. Peña, who specializes in bilingual education, says that her teaching in Spanish communicates to students that “their cultural and linguistic heritage that God gave them has infinite value.”

The Department of Education at Judson University prepares students for careers of service in the classroom. Practicum experiences begin during freshman year, allowing extensive experience throughout the four-year program. The Department of Education offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, and Secondary Education, as well as a Master and Doctorate of Education in Literacy.

Golden Apple Award recipients are selected by master educators who understand and recognize instructional best practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders. To learn more, visit

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