District Names First APPLES Mentor of the Year

District Names First APPLES Mentor of the Year
Posted on 05/30/2020
District Names First APPLES Mentor of the Year

The School District of Lee County is proud to honor Benjamin Strauss with the inaugural 2020 APPLES Mentor of the Year award. Strauss is an English Language Arts Teacher at Mariner High School. APPLES mentors provide support to new and beginning teachers.

“Mentoring is a labor of love for me, a way to contribute to and perpetuate the all-important circle of learning,” Strauss says. “I am thankful for the opportunity to be a mentor, and I appreciate the District honoring mentors.”

Strauss began his teaching career in Lee County in 2011 as a career-changer. Inspired by the support he received as a new teacher, he decided to pay it forward. He has been serving as a mentor to beginning teachers since 2014.

“Ben proved to be such an influential mentor to me because he was consistently solution-oriented,” says Fort Myers High School Teacher Ryan Arciero. “He empowered me to consider the challenge at hand, identify constructive ways to approach that challenge, and believe that the challenge could be overcome.”

As an English and AP Instructor at Mariner, Strauss is known for taking great pride and enthusiasm in conscientiously working on lesson plans and classroom instruction that incorporate research-based instructional strategies. In every situation he is described as prompt, prepared, and always willing to work extra hours.

“Mr. Strauss increases student achievement in writing and reading for upper grades students to excel on the AP and college entrance exams, leads English Language Arts teams and professional development on campus, and mentors APPLES teachers with 100% retention,” says Mariner High School Assistant Principal Angel McNeeley. “In each situation, he demonstrates academic excellence, a wonderful rapport with students, faculty and staff, and a dedication to his work.”

The School District of Lee County’s APPLES Program (Accomplished Professional Practices for Lee County Education System) offers a multi-tiered system of support to new and beginning teachers. One layer of support is that of the APPLES Mentor. The APPLES Mentor of the Year is a new recognition for the District. APPLES Mentors were nominated by their administrators, a selection committee picked five finalists, and then interviewed them to choose the inaugural award winner.