Grants writer leaves school district
It was a tearful farewell for grants writer Valerie Dockery who will not be returning to her job in the school district after the Christmas break.
“I’ve had so many goodbye lunches and well wishes. It’s amazing,” she said, misty-eyed. “I just can’t get over how much people thought of my work. It’s wonderful.”
Dockery came to the Carson City School District 5-1/2 years ago and has been finding ways to funnel money into the schools since.
In her last week, she secured $100,000 to implement reading programs at Fritsch and Mark Twain elementary schools — to add to the $2.5 million she already brought in.
“It’s good to go out on a good note,” she said. “That’s always fun.”
But her job didn’t stop at getting the money. She also managed the programs it paid for.
“I don’t think you could just write the grants and not know the other end of it,” she explained. “Money without a vision doesn’t do you any good.”
Some of the programs she oversaw include the homeless program which assists children living in hotels, motels, campgrounds and with other families, the Success for All reading program and the Boys & Girls satellite club at Empire Elementary School.
But she feels most proud of a program which reaches out to prekindergarten children and their parents to lead them to literacy together.
This year, Even Start began a preschool at Empire Elementary School which helps prepare youngsters for school and requires the parents to enroll in general education or English-as-a-second-language classes.
“It’s a model for the rest of the district and maybe other districts,” she said. “We start intervening with kids early so we can get them ready for school. It’s really going to improve achievement down the road, I hope.”
Dockery moved to Carson City more than five years ago when her husband, Scott, was transferred to Reno in his job as a manager for a cable television company.
He was later transferred to Stockton, Calif., and spent two years commuting. For the last two months, he has been working in Cleveland, Ohio, where she and their 11-year-old twins, Kristin and Kelsey, will be moving after Christmas.
“It will be good to get our family back together,” she said. “And it’s very pretty there — lots of trees and a wonderful school district for the kids.”
She will take some time off of work to help her daughters adjust to their new home and school then look for a job there.
The family will spend Christmas in Carson City then head out to their new home.
“We hate to leave here because we all love it,” Dockery said.
And Superintendent Mary Pierczynski hates to see her go.
“We are all very sad to see Valerie leave because she was not only a good grants writer who brought in a lot of money, she was also a good person to work with,” Pierczynski said. “Once we got the money, she helped us implement it. We’re just very sorry her husband got a job in Ohio — even though I’m a Buckeye myself.”
Officials are still searching for a replacement. To apply, call the human resources department at 283-2130.