Reno, NV (May 9, 2018) – The Washoe County School District (WCSD) recently honored 13 employees whose outstanding work earned them Employee of the Year recognition. Transforming Youth Recovery (TYR) sponsors the program to recognize staff members for their extraordinary efforts to provide education settings, programs, and experiences that promote healthy lifestyles and help students achieve their full potential.
“These District employees represent the heart and soul of our work to prepare our 64,000 students for life after graduation,” said WCSD Board President Katy Simon Holland. “Across the District, our employees are committed to helping all of our students achieve their dreams. We are grateful to Transforming Youth Recovery for their support, and we congratulate our outstanding employees for their support.”
“Our community leaders play a critical role in the well-being of our local youth,” said Stacie Mathewson, Founder and CEO of Transforming Youth Recovery. “This is why it’s important that we recognize and award those who are committed to making a positive impact in the lives of our children.”
The Employees of the Year for 2018 are:
Nichole Truax, Elementary School Principal of the Year:
Ms. Truax serves a principal of Florence Drake Elementary School in Sparks. In her nomination, she was praised for creating a student-centered, inclusive culture at her school, with interventions that provide direct support to each student based upon his or her needs.
Leah Keuscher, Secondary School Principal of the Year:
Ms. Keuscher is the principal of Wooster High School, and her devotion to her students was cited in her letters of nomination. She is exceptionally dedicated to students who have special needs or are acquiring skills in speaking English, and has implemented a variety of programs to meet the needs of all students while closely monitoring data and engaging with her teaching staff.
Ken Cervantes, Licensed Administrator of the Year:
After a long career in school administration at several schools, Mr. Cervantes now serves as a Consulting Principal for the District. In his nomination, he was praised for steadily increasing the mentoring and support of principals throughout WCSD, ensuring that each receives individual attention and information according to his or her needs.
Stacey Black, Elementary School Teacher of the Year:
Ms. Black teaches at Gerlach K-12 School, and was nominated by her fellow staff members who said, “She is synonymous with all that is caring and true in education… She values trust, integrity, and hard work, and she models this.” She teaches special education and also serves as a para-administrator at the school.
Brian Gibbons, Middle School Teacher of the Year:
Mr. Gibbons teaches Comprehensive Life Skills (CLS) to students with special needs at Yvonne Shaw Middle School in Sparks. He was nominated by his fellow staff members who said, “Every day, he goes above and beyond to ensure each child is loved, safe, and treated respectfully, always encouraging them. [His] classroom is warm, fun, safe, and encouraging.”
Sarah Frances, High School Teacher of the Year:
Ms. Frances teaches at Innovations High School, where (despite having no formal music training) she restructured the school’s music program to encourage more students to learn and perform music. She also teaches Greek Mythology as an English advisor, and advises students who are new to the school.
Elizabeth Cadigan, Certified Employee of the Year:
Ms. Cadigan teaches music at Nancy Gomes Elementary School, and has worked hard to secure grants for new equipment and instruments for the school. She created the Nancy Gomes Run Club to help support the annual Run for Education, promoting a healthy lifestyle for students. Her fellow staff members say, “She always takes a ‘student first’ approach, and when dealing with situations, she always thinks about how it will impact the students.”
Analine Acevedo, Elementary School Education Support Professional of the Year:
Ms. Acevedo is a teacher assistant at Kate Smith Elementary School in Sparks, where many of her students are English Learners. Her colleagues praised her dedication to all students, calling her “extraordinarily competent” in her teaching. She is “well-loved by her students and their parents, and well respected by [school] staff.”
Maria Ascencio, Middle School Education Support Professional of the Year:
Ms. Ascencio is a custodian at Mendive Middle School, where her colleagues say she “prides herself on her work [and] goes that extra mile for all of us… She is loved by our students… They trust her and feel loved… [She] is the sunshine on a cloudy day.”
Nancy Gage, High School Education Support Professional of the Year:
Ms. Gage serves as the cafeteria manager at Washoe Inspire Academy, where her co-workers say she “…builds strong, positive relationships with some of the most impacted students in WCSD… She helps students maintain a positive disposition and to engage in their studies while at Inspire. She is a true asset to her school, and she is most deserving of any accolades for her work.”
Kevin Meagher, Department Education Support Professional of the Year:
Mr. Meagher works in the Transportation Department’s Systems and Logistics Division, which is responsible for ensuring that some of the District’s most vulnerable students—Children in Transition and Foster Children—are brought to and from school safely each day. His co-workers point out that for these students, school may be one of the only stable aspects of their lives, and Mr. Meagher’s dedication to them shows that he “has a big heart and great compassion for these students and their circumstances.”
Tina Springmeyer, Professional/Technical Employee of the Year:
Ms. Springmeyer is the director of Child and Family Services for WCSD. She also serves as Nevada’s Pre-K Standards Coordinator and a variety of other positions and responsibilities at the state level. She was praised for her strong commitment to the District’s youngest students, and the fact that she “constantly works long hours, helping teachers, parents, and staff members do whatever it takes to find success.”
Christine Chatham, Substitute Teacher of the Year:
Ms. Chatham works at Jerry Whitehead Elementary School in Sparks, where she has served as both a short- and long term substitute teacher. She fills in as needed at every grade level, “using her own resources to supplement and set up classrooms as well as acquire books and supplies for individual children. She is a wonderfully positive, hardworking, caring individual who is a fantastic asset to our school and the District.”