Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

Carson City, Nev.- Governor Joe Lombardo today announced his selection of two nominees to represent Nevada in the national selection process for the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award. Ms. Ava Proulx, from Amargosa Valley Elementary School in Nye County, and Ms. Edrecka Wolridge from Fertitta Middle School in Clark County were chosen by the Governor to represent Nevada based on their dedication to Nevada’s students and school communities.

"In recognizing the extraordinary efforts of Ava Proulx and Edrecka Wolridge, we honor their commitment to creating a positive impact on the lives of students and families in Nevada,” said Governor Joe Lombardo. “Their tireless dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive educational environment is truly commendable."

The RISE Award, initiated by the U.S. Congress in 2019 and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service. Each state is invited to nominate up to two outstanding employees for selection of a national honoree by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Ms. Ava Proulx is a school social worker at Amargosa Valley Elementary School in Nye County School District. What sets Ms. Proulx apart is her passion for coming up with creative solutions. She is constantly brainstorming new ideas to enhance the lives of the students at her school. Whether proposing classes or clubs that promote mental health or suggesting partnerships with local businesses to provide additional support opportunities, her goal is to make a lasting positive impact. Ms. Proulx helped create a clothing closet and food pantry to provide for those in need. She was even able to secure a grant for a library for all the children to give, take, and trade books.

  • Ms. Edrecka Wolridge is a campus security monitor at Fertitta Middle School in the Clark County School District. In addition to her security duties, Ms. Wolridge is the head boys basketball coach and a student teacher earning her teaching certificate through the Paraprofessionals Pathway Program. Teachers, parents, and students joke that she lives at school because she doesn’t miss an event or an activity. When she’s not at school, she spends much of her time working for the City of Las Vegas, running camps or sports programs. She coaches all levels in the city and is involved with local Amateur Athletic Union Club basketball teams.

“I’m thankful we have devoted, caring, and hard-working Nevadans like Ms. Proulx, Ms. Wolridge. Their impact can be felt far beyond their respective roles as school social worker and campus security monitor, they both truly embody the spirit of the RISE Award,” said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I thank Governor Lombardo for selecting these two outstanding nominees, and I am proud to have them represent Nevada on the national stage.”

Governor Lombardo chose Nevada’s nominees from a pool of five finalists selected by the Nevada Department of Education. The selection process was anonymous, with all identifying information redacted so determinations could be made on the merit of the nomination.

The three other finalists include Ms. Erica Nungary, Ms. Mary Ann Canavan, and Ms. Belinda Strong.

  • Ms. Erica Nungary is the school registrar at Harney Middle School in Clark County School District.
  • Ms. Mary Ann Canavan is a paraprofessional at Roger Gehring Academy in Clark County School District.
  • Ms. Belinda Strong is a school security officer at Ann Lynch Elementary School in Clark County School District.

The National RISE Award recipient will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in spring 2024.

School staff eligible for the recognition include paraprofessionals, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades professionals. They offer essential services to the school community and play a vital role in providing for the welfare, safety, and success of students.

This is the fourth annual Nevada RISE Award selection. One of last year’s RISE Award nominees from Nevada, Ms. Carlene Pacheco, was chosen as the 2023 National RISE Awardee. Ms. Pacheco is a paraprofessional and Title 6 Liaison at Churchill County High School in Churchill County School District. She is an advisor and counselor for Native American students and families in her district. Along with all her other work, she offers one-on-one tutoring, classroom support, and after-school tutoring.

More information on the RISE awards can be found here.

About the Nevada Department of Education The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) leads and collaborates with Nevada’s 17 school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority to advance educational equity Statewide. With offices in Carson City and Las Vegas, NV, NDE oversees all public pre-K-12 education in the State, working to achieve its mission to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning, and promoting excellence. Under the leadership of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, NDE impacts the achievement of nearly half a million children and 30,000 educators. Learn more at and join us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram