Carson High School’s Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Lt. Cmdr. Dan Meyer perpetually says it’ll be “one more year” before he decides to retire with a grin every time.
Meyer, honored as this year’s Carson City School District Educator of the Year Tuesday, said he was “humbled beyond belief.”
“Doing this Navy and then education, this is the highlight,” he said. “It can’t get any better than this. This is a great district.”
Tuesday’s awards honored excellence among Carson City School District personnel, with school board members calling it “the best meeting of the year.”
Leticia Servin, bilingual parent engagement coordinator, was recognized as the Education Support Professional (ESP) Employee of the Year. Cheryl Richetta, principal at Bordewich Bray Elementary School, was selected as the district’s Administrator of the Year.
“It’s like going on a roller coaster,” Servin told the Appeal after she was recognized. “It’s all worth it. Every year is different, and it comes with challenges. You just go with it.”
The school district selected Meyer and Servin from 25 site winners including 11 teachers and 14 ESP employees who were selected from peers and administrators from various sites and schools within the district. The Administrator of the Year was selected from nominations from 27 school administrators. Each candidate was interviewed by a panel of judges. The panel then chose one ESP employee of the year, one educator of the year and one administrator of the year.
Meyer served for 15 years in the U.S. Navy after being enlisted, then served another 15 years as an officer. He was honorably discharged and became a teacher for 20 years. He has taught NJROTC for the past nine years at CHS. His unit has been selected as a “Distinguished Unit” for the past six consecutive years. Of the 568 units in the nation, Carson High’s unit was twice selected as a top 10 unit of the year.
Meyer emphasizes every activity each cadet does for his or her drill meets count to earn points.
District spokesman Dan Davis, who hosted the awards, said Meyer came to his interview with a full packet of news clippings, slideshow and high school transcript demonstrating his achievements throughout his career. One of his standouts was his transcript showing he had failed band to help relate to current students in their academic or extracurricular efforts.
“What it kind of showed was just how much the students needed you and how much you needed the students,” Davis told Meyer after the awards.
“Some days are better than others,” Meyer said. “It’s a good group at the high school.”
Meyer thanked his cadets who have raised $6,000 in support of the Angel Tree program. They also purchased pink cords to wear on their uniforms during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and presented a $1,000 check to the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center. Meyer recently has been diagnosed with prostate cancer but had told the judging panel for the awards he couldn’t disappoint his students.
“This is money out of their pocket,” he told the Appeal. “Our drill team is growing. The cadets are just more involved.”
As district Educator of the Year, Meyer now has the opportunity to compete statewide for Nevada Educator of the Year.
The audience cheered for each winner as they gave remarks after receiving plaques for their honor.
Servin has worked at the district for more than 24 years in various capacities as an Hispanic parent liaison, an English as a Second Language paraprofessional at Mark Twain Elementary School, assistant ESL coordinator and a Migrant Parent Home Advocate at Empire Elementary School. In 2006, she founded the Latino Parent Committee, and she has served as the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator and Community-based Instructor for the University of Nevada, Reno.
Carson High School’s student population is more than half Latino students, according to the district, with most students and families speaking Spanish only. Servin helps teachers, counselors and administrators who frequently need an interpreter for phone calls to families, in document translation or by attending parent meetings.
“Being Hispanic in our district, it’s growing with Latino students, and it helps me to let them know you can do it,” Servin told the Appeal. “Students can graduate and move on, get a career, work in the field that they enjoy. (The award) represents the number of Latinos I’ve worked with in the past.”
She said the honor also represents her migrant mother who also had a difficult time finding services as well as her daughter who went on to secure a career in law enforcement thanks to her education.
“It’s helped her to realize education can lead to a better life,” she said.
Servin will have a chance to compete statewide for Nevada ESP Employee of the Year.
Richetta previously served as vice principal at Fremont Elementary School and as lead literacy specialist during which time she helped oversee the rollout of the Read by Grade 3 initiative. She also simultaneously served as the summer school administrator for six elementary schools and as the ELA implementation specialist at Mark Twain Elementary. In addition, Richetta served as an administrative intern under Principal Ruthlee Caloiaro at Mark Twain, and her teaching experience includes sixth and seventh grade math at Carson Middle and kindergarten, first, third and fifth grades at Mark Twain.
Other award recipients Tuesday thanked the district, fellow coworkers and family members for the opportunities they have to serve their team members or students.
Candi Robles, Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA)/implementation specialist, spoke about the positive lessons she learned from her mother and applying them to the students she now helps in the classroom and gave thanks for her colleagues.
“It’s also magic in the Carson City School District that on the bad days, you know who to go,” Robles said. “Somebody goes to you and holds you up. It’s the grace of the people you sit next to.”