Our Programs

Gold Star


Sure, the best teachers are amazing instructors. But to their students, they are also role models. Counselors. Cheerleaders. Even Superheroes.

So when do teachers get to be stars?

When we cheer them on and show them what they do really matters — with the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching.

A star is born.

Developed in 1989 by the R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL-TV, the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching recognizes teachers for the stars they are. In fact, so far we’ve rewarded the awesomeness of more than 350 teachers!

The program first grew out of an idea from the McElroy Trust to improve education in northeast Iowa by encouraging outstanding teachers.

Low and behold, the collaborators on the program realized that nothing is more important to a child’s education than a talented and inspiring teacher. Yet those same teachers are often overworked, under-appreciated, and (gasp) lured away into more lucrative fields.

The McElroy Trust decided that a teacher-recognition program would be a really cool (and let’s not forget effective) way to encourage excellence in teaching — and encourage outstanding teachers to continue in the profession. Presto, the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching was born.

Each year, we select 10 incredible teachers from hundreds of nominations submitted by students, parents and teachers themselves. Then we hold a loud, flashy awards ceremony where all of our stars’ fans can whoop it up and cheer them on! And to top it all off, we give each Gold Star Award recipient $1,000 in cash.

Today, our program has a — dare we say — stellar rep with teachers, students and parents alike. In fact, many of the chosen teachers tell us they consider the Gold Star Award the highlight of their careers. (Right next to shaping the lives of hundreds of young people, of course.)

So what are you waiting for? Visit our Gold Star website and Nominate your favorite teacher today.

2018 Gold Star teacher Ashley Cardamone, Art Teacher at Holmes Junior High & her fan club.

2018 Gold Star teacher Ashley Cardamone, Art Teacher at Holmes Junior High & her fan club.