From left are trustees Amber Getto, Tricia Strasdin and Carmen Schank; CCMS Principal Amy Word, the Nevada School Board Association’s Administrator of the Year; Superintendent Summer Stephens; and trustees Kathryn Whitaker and Fred Buckmaster.
A Churchill County educator was recognized Nov. 13 as the Nevada Association of School Boards’ Administrator of the Year at the organization’s annual conference.
Churchill County Middle School Principal Amy Word was nominated by the Churchill County School Board and selected by the NASB’s Nominations and Award Committee for the presentation.
“Amy is the consummate learner — exemplifying everything that we desire in our staff and students as we live out our mission of Everyone Always Learning,” said Summer Stephens, superintendent of Churchill County School District. “She understands how failure can lead to success by iterating on our work as a part of the learning journey.”
Trustees in their nomination letter said Word is a constant, positive example.
“Everything she does for the school district comes from one main idea — what is best for our students,” the school board stated.
Word, who began teaching as a special education teacher in 2000, served as a vice principal at Churchill County High School from 2009-15 and then was selected as CCMS principal in 2015.
“I was surprised, shocked,” Word said upon learning of the award.
Determination for this award was based on school improvement and student achievement, unique contributions, effective professional development strategies for educational staff and innovative and successful practices which have resulted in increased student achievement in the school, district or state.
Trustees said her ability to take lead on a project, delegate to others with trust and support and be a learner were clear reasons for recognition for this award.
“Her ability to take lead on a project, delegate to others with trust and support, and be a learner are incredibly admirable and clear reasons for recognition for this award,” said the school board in its nomination. “She is a calculated risk taker, a collaborative leader and highly self-reflective. Amy is what all administrators should aspire to be.”
Word said during her tenure as a principal, she has a willingness to change, implement learning strategies and show flexibility. Furthermore, the nomination stated Word works well with staff, students and parents; goes above and beyond for people; and spends many after-work hours at school taking care of business.
“She will stop whatever task she is working on to talk with concerned or upset parents and make sure they leave knowing she is doing all that she can to deal with any concerns or issues,” trustees said.
During the last challenging school year, it was difficult to get students engaged and willing to come to school, but trustees said Word made every effort to support her students and help them achieve their educational goals.
Despite those challenges from the coronavirus, Word said there was educational growth.
“What improved is how we look at the learner,” she said. “Students are very different from when I first started,” she added.
Not only have students changed, but Word said the family has also changed. She said educations look at the cultural piece of the family and look at the social and emotional needs.
Word said she enjoys working with the students, and when teachers had to leave their classroom because of sickness or an appointment, she would periodically step in.
“It’s fun to be with the kids,” she said.
“I got to witness the excitement she would display when students walked through the front door,” said CCMS secretary Becky Rossback. “Even if they were late, I would hear her say, ‘We are glad you are here.’”
Word said she believes in doing everything she can to help her students succeed. According to the school district, she has personally delivered hot spots to homes of students who were without Wi-Fi, continuously works with counselors to gain a better understanding of students who are in need of extra support and relays efficiently and quickly any information that she gains from training and meetings with the district.