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GOLDEN APPLE: April 2013 Winner

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Like most teachers, this month’s Golden Apple winner has a kind and loving heart.

This school year Janis Brendeland was presented with an opportunity to connect not only with her students, but also with a special family going through a tough time.

Janis is a second grade teacher at Central Elementary School in Nevada.  This year she had the pleasure of having Breyton Shill as one of her students.

“She included him in everything even though he was never able to be in the classroom with his friends,” explained mom, Mindy Shill.

Breyton lost his battle with leukemia in November and through all of his struggles she was able to teach her students something much greater than what is commonly taught in the classroom.

Ms. Brendeland was not only there to support Breyton through his treatments, she became a source of support for his family as well, “She became almost like a sister to me.  I can confide in her if I need to. She`s just an amazing woman,” said Mindy.

In October, Ms. Brendeland started a fundraiser so that the students in her class would have a way to help Breyton.

“It started as `pennies for patients`.  She didn`t think that the school could raise $1,000,” said Mindy.

If they raised the amount, Janis offered to shave her head.  They got it in 5 days.

In total, the elementary students were able to raise over $8,000 for their fundraiser.

After accepting her Golden Apple Award, Ms. Brendeland credited Breyton for his contributions to her classroom, “I often thing Breyton was a teacher for all of us. We learned about living life fully and how to give a positive attitude, how to do your best.”