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18th Annual Teacher of the Year celebration in Pahrump includes many winners

An event honoring the efforts of area educators took place late last month.

NyE Communities Coalition hosted the 18th annual Stand for Children Day and Teacher of the Year celebration on Saturday, April 29.

The event celebrates the respective achievements of Nye County School District’s mentors by recognizing each for what they bring to the classroom and their community.

The teachers are nominated by principals of the schools.

During the ceremony, selected students spoke about their teacher and their classroom experience with the nominated instructors, followed by a formal introduction.

The event was punctuated with entertainment from additional students performing dance, song and musical recitals.

Lunch was also served.

Representing Rosemary Clarke Middle School, eighth-grade instructor Cassondra Lauver was selected as the honoree.

Lauver was described as an outstanding math and algebra I teacher.

“She truly works hard to make connections with all students, the introduction stated. “Cassondra is not afraid to tell students she makes mistakes and will often ask the students what she did wrong if they struggle. This shows her humility and passion to get better and to get the most out of her students.”

Chef Janice Nicholas was nominated as Pahrump Valley High School’s teacher of the year.

Nicholas was described as dependable, efficient, and unfailingly punctual.

“Her willingness to take on difficult projects such as the Pahrump Valley High School Hall of Fame awards over Labor Day weekend and see them to successful completion,” the introduction noted. “Her skills do not end with her classroom duties. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude toward our students, parents, colleagues and administration.”

Hafen Elementary School’s teacher of the year is fifth-grade instructor Sherrilynn Rakestraw.

“Ms. Rakestraw has worked hard to create a cohesive team that meets the needs of the students in every way,” the introduction stated. “She works well with everyone at the school, and has made the newest members of the team feel extremely comfortable. She is not only a natural and exceptional teacher, she is amazingly perceptive to the individual needs of children with different ways of learning.”

Crystal Hycz was selected as Manse Elementary School’s teacher of the year.

The first-grade instructor is described as an outstanding teacher that makes learning fun for her first-grade students each and every day.

“She incorporates so many effective strategies that even the most energetic students are able to focus and learn in her classroom,” the introduction noted. “She supports her team both as a colleague and a friend. She gives her own time to be here for special events like the Father-Daughter Dance and Family Literacy Night. She is so dedicated to Manse that she commutes from Las Vegas each day because she loves her job so much.”

Pathways Innovative Education’s teacher of the year is Bonnie Chenevert, described as working tirelessly for her students, and for helping Pathways Innovative Education “keep the wheels on the bus.”

“She provides online and on-site support for students in both the Pathways middle and high school programs, as well as for our adult high school students,” the introduction stated. “She tutors students one-on-one in all subjects, and is known to have at least 16 different ways to teach how to divide. If there is a question, she is the go-to person. Working with the diverse population at Pathways, Mrs. Chenevert understands the needs of students who struggle both academically and emotionally.”

Laura Spencer was selected as Amargosa Valley School’s teacher of the year.

“As our ELL specialist, Ms. Spencer advised the leadership team on research-based strategies to guide school improvement,” her introduction noted. “She then took those strategies and provided professional development and modeling for teachers. Ms. Spencer also provided small group instruction for our newcomer students to assist them with language acquisition. She is a servant leader, and an inspiration to those she works with.”

Floyd Elementary School’s Lance “Coach” Englund was selected as teacher of the year.

Englund was described as a role model, a cheerleader, promoter, groundskeeper and an inspiration to the Floyd Elementary family.

“He is not just a PE teacher,” the description noted. “Coach Englund sets a high bar for behavior, sportsmanship and friendly competition that carries over into quality student character in the classroom. Students soar because they want to please their role model. He plans fun ways for students of all abilities to practice and build their athletic skill sets. Coach Englund considers the entire campus to be his classroom and he takes care of it with pride.”

J.G. Johnson Elementary School’s teacher of the year was Michelle Wasmuth, who believes the key to student achievement is meaningful engagement of all students.

“Ms. Wasmuth has organized her class, creating groups like Amethyst, Coral, etc. in such a way that the grouping helps children grow academically, socially, etc,” the introduction stated. “It is heartening to see all students engaged in task-based discourse. The tasks are in keeping with the grade standards and are planned to meet the diverse needs of students. It is amazing to see Ms. Wasmuth at the back table working with a group of students who need more assistance and personal instruction. One of the strategies Ms. Wasmuth employs is to give students stretch breaks, where the few minutes of a routine of exercises keep students active and relaxed. The stretch works like a tonic boosting the spirit and energy of the students. Her routines are well-planned and timely.”

Pahrump’s Community Christian Academy’s teacher of the year award was bestowed upon Catherine Wichael.

“The Community Christian Academy is thrilled to celebrate our 2017 Teacher of the Year Catherine Wichael,” the introduction noted. “Catie is the kindergarten teacher at the academy. She is everything a kindergarten teacher needs to be, patient, kind and loving. She spends time before and after school tutoring to making sure her students have everything they need to succeed. Catie was a student of homeschool, as are all her siblings. This special perspective gives Catie an edge with the kindergarten program at CCA.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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