From the Washoe County School District:
The Washoe County School District (WCSD), Robert and Dorothy Keyser Foundation, and the Washoe Education Association (WEA) are honoring veteran teacher Jodee Prudente with the 2014 Keyser Foundation WCSD Teacher of the Year award. Prudente, who has taught in the Washoe County School District for 11 years, currently teaches special education and comprehensive life skills at Kendyl Depoali Middle School in Reno. Two other teachers—Ryan Brock of Jessie Beck Elementary School and Sarah Hopper of Washoe Innovations High School—were recognized as finalists for the award.
"Ms. Prudente is such an inspiration to her students and her peers," said Blake Smith, trustee for the Keyser Foundation. "She is a dedicated educator who is devoted to her profession and her students, and we at the Keyser Foundation are proud to honor her with this award."
The Keyser Foundation WCSD Teacher of the Year award recognizes one teacher from each level— elementary, middle, and high school—who is exceptionally dedicated, skilled, and knowledgeable, and who serves as an inspiration to students of all backgrounds and abilities. From the three finalists, one teacher is selected as the WCSD Teacher of the Year.
"I am incredibly honored to be able to represent WCSD as Teacher of the Year," said Prudente. "As a special education teacher, I teach a unique population, and it is a special honor to be recognized for the impact I make on this group of students."
"Ms. Prudente's students come from all walks of life and face all manner of disabilities ranging from autism to intellectual disabilities to cerebral palsy," said Juliana Annand, principal at Depoali Middle School. "Her expectations of her students and our staff are that all students are included and all students can learn. Her students make tremendous growth, and when they leave Ms. Prudente's class, they feel as if they can take on the world."
The Keyser Foundation Teacher of the Year program is a collaborative effort between WCSD, the Keyser Foundation, and the WEA. The Keyser Foundation awarded all three finalists with a $3,000 award and Prudente, as WCSD Teacher of the Year winner, an additional $3,000.
"We are so grateful to the Keyser Foundation for its support in underwriting such an important recognition," said Dana Galvin, president of the WEA. "The winners in the elementary school, middle school, and high school categories represent the hard work of all teachers in Washoe County, and we applaud their dedication to the teaching profession."
Finalist Ryan Brock has taught at schools in WCSD for 14 years. Currently, he is a science teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade at Jessie Beck Elementary School. He says he tries to use "outside the box" methods to captivate his students and instill a passion for lifelong learning. "I am honored to represent all the hard-working elementary school teachers who go above and beyond to create a curriculum that comes alive for the students," Brock said. "I think the most surprising part of this award is the fact that parents and students wrote letters on my behalf. It is so wonderful to read those letters from former students and hear about the impact I have made on their lives."
Sarah Hopper, who teaches at Washoe Innovations High School, was also named as a finalist for the award. She has taught in WCSD since August 2012.
"I was involved in a mentoring program for at-risk teens before I started my educational journey," Hopper says. "I knew that I wanted to work with at-risk teenagers for a living, and working at Washoe Innovations High School has been one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, places I have ever worked. I am in a school that pushes teachers to be more than just educators in the classroom – they want us to be mentors in order to make a true and lasting impact. I am very honored to be nominated as WCSD's Teacher of the Year for high school but specifically for Washoe Innovations High School!"
From the Washoe County School District