Golden Apple Award: Teaching history and being a friend

The 10/11 Golden Apple Award is sponsored by Doane University College of Education
The 10/11 Golden Apple Award winner for March is Sarah Burr, a middle school history teacher in Syracuse.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:54 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 2:50 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Each month during the school year, 10/11 and Doane University College of Education present a Golden Apple Award to a deserving teacher. And our March winner is a middle school history teacher. This Central City native is raising her family and being a friend to her students in her husband’s hometown of Syracuse.

10/11′s Taryn Vanderford surprised Sarah Burr on the day Syracuse Middle School was having an external review. Burr didn’t seem to notice 10/11′s camera in the room; she was so ingrained in what she was teaching.

“We were prepared to have people coming in and out of our rooms between 11 a.m. and noon,” Burr said. “So I just thought, oh that’s someone else coming in to observe and watch what we are doing and the fun things the kids are doing so I just thought you were here to do that.”

That’s just Mrs. Burr’s way. Her principal, Tim Farley, said she is always so calm with middle schoolers.

“She’s certainly deserving of many teaching awards, especially anything that is identifying a teacher as being positive, kind, helping students to feel comfortable in a school environment, that’s Sarah Burr,” Farley said.

Mrs. Burr was nominated for the Golden Apple Award by Phil Haake, her brother. In his nomination, Phil mentioned one of her former students who said this:

“Sarah Burr was truly my best friend. In just the four years I was with her, I knew I always had a shoulder to lean on, always had someone to tell jokes to, always had someone to stop by and say hi.”

This Syracuse 8th grader agrees. “She really connects with the students, and she also gives out a lot of prizes for good work or positivity,” Kaita Kreifels said.

“One of Sarah Burr’s primary roles as a 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher here is helping her students to participate in a National History Day competition,” Farley said. “And that takes a lot of in-class and out of class time, and she helps them to find their passion in those projects, and experience success in that process as well.”

Mrs. Burr is no stranger to a small Nebraska town. She grew up in Central City, attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where she was a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band. She met her husband and moved to his small town of Syracuse. She loves being a part of another great Nebraska community.

“It’s just a joy to be a part of this community where we can all be a family together,” Burr said. “I know what my own students are going through, I know my own personal children are taken care of at school, and it’s just wonderful to be here.”

And that’s Mrs. Burr...taking everything in stride, even an award putting the focus on her.

“It honestly caught me off guard,” Burr said. “I’m in shock because I feel like the day-to-day stuff we do with the kids, I’m used to that. I’m just trying to help them think outside the box and to learn life lessons. When you get an award or recognition for stuff you just enjoy; it’s just extra special.”

Click here to nominate an educator for the 10/11 Golden Apple award.

Doane University College of Education
Doane University College of Education(Doane University College of Education)