Dominic Belmonte, the highly-respected CEO Emeritus of the Golden Apple Foundation, is joining National Louis University as a Distinguished Professor of Practice.
Belmonte is well known in the education world for his work cultivating exemplary teachers and educators. That legacy meshes well with the mission of NLU’s National College of Education to give the best possible preparation to teacher candidates as they get ready to helm their own classrooms.
Belmonte’s passion for preparing future educators started in 1976, when he began teaching American literature at York High School in Elmhurst. It developed further when he won the Golden Apple award for teaching in 1987. It blossomed in 1996 when the Golden Apple Foundation hired him as Director of Teacher Preparation, and he led initiatives to incubate potential young teachers and help mid-career adults transfer their expertise into teaching. Golden Apple promoted him to CEO in 2006.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dom Belmonte to NLU’s National College of Education as distinguished professor of practice,” said Rob Muller, Ed.D., dean of NLU’s National College of Education.
“Dom brings extraordinary passion and commitment to preparing exemplary teachers. His long career serving our highest-needs schools and children in Chicago and Illinois speaks volumes about the importance of the teaching profession. We welcome him as a lead contributor to our efforts to prepare and support new, early career, and seasoned educators.”
National Louis honored Belmonte this past June with its Pioneer Award for his decades-long drive to grow teachers and nurture them to excellence in the profession. This put him in the company of former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who received the Pioneer Award in 2016.
The Golden Apple Foundation’s original mission was to give awards to excellent teachers, but Belmonte led the effort to start the Golden Apple Scholars, a teacher preparation and mentoring program for students who have just completed high school or their first or second year of college. Now Golden Apple’s largest program, the approximately 200 young people selected to be scholars each year are trained to thrive and persevere in high-need schools.
Belmonte also initiated the idea of welcoming to the teaching field mid-career professionals in other fields who want to become teachers. In 1993, Golden Apple created a program to help these career-changers.
“The idea was that if you get someone who majored in physics and worked at Argonne properly prepared and mentored, they could bring a lot to a physics classroom,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has written two books, “Teaching from the Deep End” and “Teaching on Solid Ground.”
“My goal is to see teaching perceived as a profession of honor that brings resilient and inspiring people into the lives of children who direly need resilience and inspiration,” he wrote in Teaching from the Deep End.