Karlie Kirkham – 2024 Golden Apple Award Winner

Karlie Kirkham – 2024 Golden Apple Award Winner

In Karlie Kirkham’s 40-year teaching career, her focus has always been on what her students need.

“Giving students a voice - a way to communicate - and make sure their needs are met is foundational,” Kirkham said.

Kirkham is the Northshore School District’s most recent recipient of the Golden Apple award, which is given annually in Washington state by Cascade PBS. For more than 20 years, Cascade PBS has honored and celebrated individuals who exemplify what it means to be a student-centered and transformative teacher and community leader.

Kirkham has been a preschool teacher in Northshore since 1999. She currently teaches at Sorenson Early Childhood Center, but she was previously in early childhood programs when they were based in other school locations, including Arrowhead Elementary and Frank Love Elementary. 

She has a passion for watching students grow from the age of 3-5. This is an age where students love learning and always want to learn more, she said.

“I love seeing that joy on their face because they’re so excited,” Kirkham said.

Having many students remain with the same team of teachers for the two years they’re in the early learning program gives her the opportunity to be alongside them for a tremendous amount of growth. She has seen students exit special education services before they leave preschool, which is a testament to what early intervention services can accomplish, she said.

Preschool is a remarkable place where she said she focuses, first and foremost, on making sure her students’ needs are met and that they feel loved. They need to have all their needs met to feel comfortable and be successful with what they’re learning. They learn how to talk about feelings and emotions so they can recognize and name their own needs, and they use colors and visual pictures to improve communication as students develop in these areas. Kirkham and her colleagues make learning fun, changing themes and play areas regularly in the classroom to excite students and help them learn about new topics.

“Karlie is a compassionate teacher who values partnering with families to make sure their children are supported in the school environment,” said Sorenson Early Childhood Center Assistant Principal Molly Fiske. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

Kirkham was recognized for this Golden Apple Award in part due to her ability to adapt curriculum needs to be inclusive for all students. Learn more about Kirkham and her work by watching this short Cascade PBS video about the honor:




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