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Pahrump educator is finalist for 2020 Nevada teacher of the year

The Nye County School District announced a high achievement by one of its teachers at Pahrump Valley High School.

Patricia Martin, AP government and U.S. government teacher at Pahrump Valley High School (PVHS), was named a finalist for the 2020 Nevada Teacher of the Year awards — the first teacher from the Nye County School District to ever be selected as a finalist, according to a news release from the district. Martin was one of five finalists for the award.

“We are very proud to have Mrs. Martin on staff and as a member of the Nye County School District family. Her students benefit from her experience and expertise in the classroom each and every day,” Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton said. “I congratulate her and thank her for her hard work. She goes above and beyond, outside the walls of the classroom for all students at Pahrump Valley High School.”

Martin was one of five finalists from around Nevada.

The overall Nevada winner was Gail Hudson, a fifth-grade teacher at John R. Hummel Elementary School in Las Vegas, according to a news release from the Nevada Department of Education.

The other three finalists were Jeanine Rosen, world history and AP government teacher at West Career and Technical Academy in the Clark County School District; Kathy Durham, an American history teacher at West Wendover High School in the Elko County School District; and Nicolas Jacques, a middle school band teacher at Carson Middle School in Carson City.

Teacher of the year

The teacher of the year award in Nevada is a gateway to a national contest.

Nevada began participating in 1956.

“The mission of the Nevada Teacher of the Year program is to celebrate excellence and strengthen the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a school, district, state, and national level,” the department’s website stated.

The Chief State School Officers facilitates the Teacher of the Year program nationally.

The Chief State School Officers, and its sponsors, bring the State Teachers of the Year together. A representative from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Washington, D.C. and the Department of Defense Education Activity is chosen annually.

The process involves being nominated.

“After being nominated, Mrs. Martin was invited to apply for the honor,” the school district’s release stated.

“After a rigorous selection process had been completed,” Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education Jhone Ebert “selected the Nevada Teacher of the Year from an anonymized pool of five applicants,” the release stated.

Martin’s peers

Martin received many accolades from her peers in the district’s release.

“It is clear to me she is a student-centered, dynamic educator who is innovative and centers her classroom environment on high levels of student engagement,” said Pahrump Valley High School Principal George Campnell. “Along with her craft, Mrs. Martin develops strong relationships with her students who know their teacher cares about them and their success at school and in life. In addition, The PVHS staff views Mrs. Martin as a true school leader. This recognition came as her peers observed the dedication she shows to students, families, staff, and community. Our PVHS family is proud to have Patricia Martin represent us as a finalist for the Nevada Teacher of the Year.”

Campnell was named as the new principal at Pahrump Valley High School for the 2019-20 school year. He succeeded Kyle Lindberg, interim principal at the high school.

Mike Pape, Pahrump Valley High School social studies department chairman, said Patricia Martin “has demonstrated her commitment to teamwork, determination in the classroom and the Pahrump Valley community,” in the district’s news release.

Pape talked about some of Martin’s achievements while she’s been with the district. One of those was to establish a student mock election in November 2018, during the last election cycle,” which created a real-world voting environment for students to participate in the national and state elections.”

Working with high-achieving students, Martin also brought back the National Honor Society to the high school in Pahrump.

“She worked with local community businesses and received donations to build Trojan Park, which was the service project for members in the (Pahrump Valley High School’s chapter) National Honor Society,” Pape said.

In the spring, the park opened. A representative from U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s office and student members of Pahrump Valley High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society attended the engagement.

Laura Weir, parent of Pahrump Valley High School Virginia Weir alumna, stated in the school district’s release, “Through National Honor Society, Patricia Martin inspired students to reach their potential in furthering their education and to become more involved in the community.

“Under her leadership, the students increased their pride in the community through the creation of Trojan Park,” Laura Weir said. “My daughter is now a full-time student at Arizona State University and loving every moment of it. I am honored to state that Mrs. Martin contributed to her success.”

Construction began on Trojan Park, which sits along East Wilson Road, behind Starbucks, in the late fall of 2018.

“As the National Honor Society adviser, we needed to do a yearly project for both in school and in the community,” Martin said in a May 3 article in the Pahrump Valley Times. “We were told to go to the NyE Communities Coalition, Youth WERKS program, where some young men cleared a great deal of debris and outlined the paths. The land has been part of the Nye County School District since the 1970s.”

More than 30 members of the high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society continued work on the project, which came to completion in the spring of 2019, after that, according to information in a May 8, 2019 article in the Times.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

On Twitter: @MeehanLv

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