Mark Twain teacher 1 of 2 in state to receive national recognition
Victor Garcia-Mendez, an English Second Language paraprofessional at Mark Twain Elementary School in Carson City, was one of two school employees nominated by Gov. Steve Sisolak to represent Nevada in the national selection process for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) award. Each state was invited to nominate up to two outstanding employees for selection of a national honoree by the U.S. Department of Education.
Garcia-Mendez was nominated by teacher Christina Bourne as an outstanding member of the Mark Twain Elementary School community. He is one of four ESL paraprofessionals and has a long list of accomplishments, including creating the iCan Initiative that focuses on supporting the parents and guardians of students learning English. Garcia-Mendez also helps parents understand how to help their child succeed in school and supports them in becoming an integral part of the school community through connections with other stakeholders and resources, the nomination read.
“He is a light and a hope for those in the Latino community,” said Ruthlee Caloiaro, principal at Mark Twain Elementary. “He spreads a message that education can be a ticket for success.”
The RISE Award recognizes and promotes the commitment of excellence exhibited by classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students in pre-kindergarten through high school. In addition to Garcia-Mendez, Kim Ruiz, an instructional aide at Winnemucca Junior High School in Humboldt County School District, was nominated.
Garcia-Mendez and Ruiz were chosen by the governor to represent Nevada based on their dedication to Nevada’s students and school communities.
“I am pleased to recognize Mr. Garcia-Mendez and Ms. Ruiz for their unwavering dedication to our children and communities,” Sisolak said. “They are just two representatives of the many outstanding school employees across our state and we can all be proud to have them represent Nevada on the national stage.”
Sisolak chose Nevada’s nominees from a pool of five finalists selected by the Nevada Department of Education based upon nominations made by school communities across Nevada. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in the following areas: work performance; school and community involvement; leadership and commitment; local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work); and enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.
“School staff like Mr. Garcia-Mendez, Ms. Ruiz and all of our amazing finalists are the heart of our education system,” said Jhone Ebert, state superintendent of public instruction. “Classified employees create the safe, healthy and welcoming environments that all children need to succeed and grow. I want to thank Gov. Sisolak and join him in recognizing the importance of our classified employees today and every day.”