Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Governor Sisolak Nominates Two School Employees For National Recognition

    October 19, 2021,

    CARSON CITY, Nev. – Governor Steve Sisolak today announced his selection of two nominees to represent Nevada in the national selection process for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. Mr.Arthur Dahlstrom and Ms. Heather Staunton-Williams were chosen by the governor to represent Nevada based on their steadfast dedication to Nevada’s students and school communities.

    “Mr. Arthur Dahlstrom and Ms. Heather Staunton-Williams are exemplary employees who demonstrate their unwavering commitment to our students,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “ Both of these exceptional school employees have dedicated their lives to bettering their school communities and have stepped up even further during the pandemic to support their school communities in innovative ways. I am pleased to recognize these well-deserving school employees and express my gratitude for their tireless work.”

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

    • Mr.Arthur Dahlstrom is a school Nurse at Fernley High School in Lyon County School District. Mr.Dahlstrom brings 42 years of medical experience in multiple facets of nursing to support his school community, performing nursing duties for the school’ 1,300 students with a calm and positive demeanor. During the pandemic, Mr.Dahlstrom has worked beyond his duties to provide COVID-19 testing for students, staff, and families in the town of Fernley, and has volunteered at vaccination clinics. Mr. Dahlstrom’s supervisor, Lyon County School District Chief NurseJeannie Bisard, nominated him, saying that Mr. Dahlsrom is “ a perfect example of someone who fulfills his job duties with humor, compassion, and no complaints. He is always early to work, ready to listen, and available to help anyone who needs his assistance. Mr. Dahlstrom has experience in a multitude of nursing positions which have contributed to his unflappable response during emergencies and vast knowledge of how to best deal with those emergencies.” 

    • Ms.Heather Staunton-Williamsis the Kitchen Lead at Dayton High School in Lyon County School District. Working tirelessly, Ms. Staunton-Williams ensures that each student has a healthy breakfast and lunch daily, and has elevated the quality of food service for students. Ms. Staunton-Williams started a food pantry at Dayton High School to offer food to students on the weekends, and she put together larger food boxes during school breaks for students who do not have enough to eat. She has worked hard throughout the pandemic to make sure that every student is taken care of, whether they were learning on campus or not, and even supported other local schools in providing food to their students. Principal Julie Bumgardner said that “ Ms. Staunton-Williams is an outstanding person who is extremely dedicated to her job and supports all of the students and staff at Dayton High School. Our food services have shown tremendous growth and improvement under her leadership, and she strives to ensure that no student in our school community goes hungry.”  

    “ I am grateful for the dedicated, resilient, and caring Nevadans like Mr. Dahlstrom, Ms. Staunton-Williams, and our other RISE finalists, who devote their careers to improving our schoolcommunities,”  said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of PublicInstruction. “ I thank Governor Sisolak for selecting these two outstanding finalists, and I am proud to have them represent Nevada on the national stage.”

    “ We are thrilled to have Heather and Art selected for this prestigious award,” said Wayne Workman, Superintendent of Lyon County SchoolDistrict. “ You could search the entire world, but you will not find individuals who are more dedicated to their profession and to meeting the needs of every individual student, staff member, and family. I am honored to be their colleague and am so grateful for their example of service.” 


    Governor 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. The selection process was anonymous, with all identifying information redacted and determinations made on the merit of the nomination. The Nevada Department of Education received 31 nominations in total.  

    Nominees were evaluated based on excellence in the following areas: work performance; school and community involvement; leadership and commitment; local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, and others who speak to the nominee’ exemplary work); and enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.

    The three other finalists include Ms. Olga Storla, Mrs. Samantha Linares, and Ms. Eloisa Guillen.

    • Ms. Olga Storla  is the Community InvolvementSpecialist and Parent Engagement Director at Mater Academy of Nevada EastCampus, sponsored by the State Public Charter School Authority. Ms. Storla has been a pillar of the Mater Academy of Nevada community for the past eight years, starting as an office manager. In her current role, she coordinates with students and family members on their needs and handles community outreach to fulfill those needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has identified community partners and provided food and resources to families experiencing economic hardship.Mater Academy Principal Danielle Ranney, who nominated Ms. Storla, said she “ makes things ‘ magical’ in the Mater Academy system, brings a positive attitude and sense of togetherness to the school community, and does not leave until the job is done. She is truly the heart of the Mater Academy System and keeps her eyes and ears open for anyone needing support.” 

    • Mrs. Samantha Linares is the Office Administrator and Admissions Director at Mountain View Lutheran School in Las Vegas. As the first person with whom new Mountain View families will interact, Mrs. Linares ensures that enrollment and integration into the Mountain View community runs smoothly. She is the main contact for the school community’s K-5 families for anything and everything, and families regularly commend her kindness, professionalism, honesty, and helpfulness. Mrs. Linares always steps into roles where she is needed, including serving as the school’s Bus Driver at one time to enable students to participate in off-campus educational opportunities. Mountain ViewPrincipal Kristopher Schneider says that “Mrs. Linares is an individual who is passionate about making our school community thrive to enable us to serve more families and fulfill our mission and purpose.” 

    • Ms. Eloisa Guillen is the Parent InvolvementCoordinator at Booth Elementary School in Washoe County School District. An essential member of the Booth Elementary School team, Ms. Guillen organizes all of the school’s parent groups and ensures parents’ voices are heard. She is known throughout Washoe County School District as the longest-serving ParentInvolvement Coordinator and has an outstanding reputation among Booth students and families. Ms. Guillen also ensures equitable access for students who are English language learners and their families, helping teachers communicate with Spanish-speaking parents and offering English classes to parents. Booth Elementary SchoolPrincipal Joe Pazar said that Ms. Guillen “ is an essential member of our school team and is absolutely vital to our school’s success; she does it all and will always jump in to help accomplish an important or urgent task.”  

    This is the second annual Nevada RISE Award selection. In its inaugural year, NDE received21 nominations representing six counties across Nevada. The two 2021 RISE Award recipients were Mr. Victor Garcia-Mendez from Mark TwainElementary School, Carson City School District; and Ms. Kim Ruiz  at Winnemucca Junior High School, Humboldt County School District.

    The RISE Award recipient will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in spring 2022.



    Allegra Demerjian
    Public Information Officer