WCSD Named Finalist for Department of Defense Freedom Award
From the Washoe County School District:
The Washoe County School District (WCSD) has been selected as a finalist for the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, and is one of just 30 employers nationwide to be considered for the award. The Freedom Award is bestowed by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense, and is the highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve employees.
More than 2,800 employers from across the country were nominated.
WCSD was nominated by Dave Clark, a teacher at Sparks Middle School and member of the Nevada Air National Guard. Clark cited the District’s support of himself and fellow teacher and Guardsman Michael Landsberry, who was killed in a shooting at the school last October. “I nominated the WCSD for the Freedom Award for all of the support they have provided me and fellow guardsman Michael Landsberry through our years of service to the Air National Guard,” said Clark. “The two of us were deployed a total of more than 10 times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, and South America during our tenure as teachers. The district has offered us nothing but support and encouragement during our many military deployments.
“Superintendent Martinez in particular is worthy of an award as well,” Clark added. “During the tragic events at Sparks Middle School last fall, Superintendent Martinez supported and honored the ideals of the ‘Citizen-Soldier’ as I stood with him, in uniform, on several occasions to represent both Mike Landsberry and myself as dedicated educators and proud members of the United States Armed Forces. Words cannot express how much Mr. Martinez’s support meant to me. I cannot describe how happy and proud I am that the Washoe County School District has been selected as a finalist. I couldn’t think of any employer more worthy of this honor.”
WCSD organized a volunteer program for Guard members to volunteer with at-risk schools and provide mentoring to at-risk students. The District hosts celebrations for service members, veterans, and their families. Superintendent Pedro Martinez also hosts Brown Bag Lunches at local military bases.
“We are honored and grateful to receive this recognition,” said Martinez. “Our colleagues who also serve our country in the National Guard and Reserves are a treasured and valued part of our team, and we are grateful for their service and contributions to our District and our nation.”
“We are tremendously proud of our employees who also serve in the U.S. military,” said WCSD Board of Trustees President Barbara Clark. “They devote countless hours to educating and supporting our students while also serving our country both at home and overseas. We are so gratified to receive this honor, and on behalf of the Trustees, I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to them for their service to us all.”
This summer, senior officials with the Department of Defense, business leaders, and previous awardees will select up to 15 Freedom Award recipients who will be honored at the 19th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony at the Pentagon in September.
A complete list of 2014 Freedom Award finalists is available at www.FreedomAward.mil under the Media tab in the Press Releases section.