Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Laura Jeanne Penrod from Southwest Career and Technical Academy in Clark County School District Named 2024 Nevada State Teacher of the Year

    September 19, 2023

    CARSON CITY, Nev. - Clark County School District teacher Laura Jeanne Penrod received the surprise of her life when she became the focus of what she thought was a typical school-wide assembly. Instead, Governor Joe Lombardo, State Superintendent Jhone Ebert, and members of Ms. Penrod's family were there to announce she is the 2024 Nevada State Teacher of the Year.

    Laura Jeanne Penrod is a high school English teacher at Southwest Career and Technical Academy (SWCTA) in the Clark County School District.

    "Ms. Penrod is incredibly deserving of the Teacher of the Year award, and she's an inspiration to us all," said Governor Joe Lombardo. "Ms. Penrod exemplifies all of the qualities we look for in our educators, and I'm so proud to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition."

    "Laura is a true leader in every sense of the word. From her time heading the special education department at SWCTA, to coaching teachers on Project-Based Learning, to working with members of the Nevada Legislature to secure the passage of education bills, she brings passion and dedication to everything she does," said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "I am so proud of her and everything she has accomplished, she truly deserves this honor.

    "We could not be more proud to call Laura Penrod, Nevada State Teacher of the Year, a member of the Coyote family. Ms. Penrod is one of the original faculty members that opened our school in 2009. There is no one more deserving of this award than she. 10 out of 10 students describe her as AWESOME, and we do too! On behalf of the Southwest Career and Technical Academy, I would like to congratulate this amazing teacher, and let her know that we are so happy she calls this home," said Southwest Career and Technical Academy Principal, Donna Levy.

    "Laura Jeanne Penrod is such an influential teacher for her students and coworkers and a tremendous example for educators throughout the state," CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara said.  "I look forward to seeing Ms. Penrod share her knowledge and insights with educators over the next year."

    More about Laura Jeanne Penrod

    • Ms. Penrod started her teaching career in 2006. As an English teacher, she is recognized as having students with some of the highest English ACT scores in the Clark County School District and consistently higher than the national average scores in writing. Ms. Penrod prioritizes social-emotional learning and even led her students to win an Anti-Bullying Campaign for the state, promoting kindness and community. She advocates for community connections and partnerships with Salvation Army, Title-One Services, and Child Haven by engaging her students in creating youth care packages for students experiencing housing insecurity.  Ms. Penrod is passionate about cultivating student advocacy. She led her high school seniors to assist local and national middle school teachers in preparing eighth graders for the high school transition. Ms. Penrod and her students also advocated in Nevada's 82nd legislative session with Assemblyman Duy Nguyen and Assemblywoman Erica Mosca to secure the passage of Assembly Bill 274 (Financial Literacy) and Assembly Bill 241 (College and Career Readiness Access).

    The mission of the Nevada Teacher of the Year program is to celebrate excellence and strengthen the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a school, district, state, and national level. The Nevada Teacher of the Year is chosen from nominated individuals who are then invited to apply. After a rigorous application and interview process, three finalists were chosen and all identifying information was removed from their applications before being sent to Superintendent Ebert for final selection. 

    The two Finalists for the 2024 Nevada State Teacher of the Year are:

    • Brianna Cotter, High School Science Teacher and Instructional Strategist at The Meadows School in Las Vegas.
    • Lieutenant Commander Daniel Meyers, Retired, Senior Naval Science Instructor at Carson High School in Carson City.

    As Nevada's 2024 State Teacher of the Year, Ms. Penrod will represent the Silver State in the National Teacher of the Year competition. The National Teacher of the Year program is facilitated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Along with its sponsors, CCSSO brings together State Teachers of the Year from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Washington, DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.  

    In 2021, Nevada's Teacher of the Year, Ms. Juliana Urtubey, was recognized as the National Teacher of the Year by CCSSO. Visit the Nevada Department of Education's Teacher of the Year "Hall of Fame" to view previous recipients.



    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, NDE oversees all 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.


    Elizabeth Callahan
    Public Information Officer