Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Nevada School Employee Carlene Pacheco Named National Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Winner for Outstanding Service to Students

    April 25, 2023

    CARSON CITY, Nev. - Governor Joe Lombardo, State Superintendent Jhone Ebert and Frances Hopkins, RISE Director from the U.S. Department of Education surprised Churchill County High School employee Carlene Pacheco with the news that she's the National Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award winner.  Ms. Pacheco thought she was attending a typical assembly when all eyes turned to her and the room erupted in cheers and rounds of applause as she was called up to the podium and handed the award.  

    "On behalf of our state, I'd like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Carlene Pacheco for this well-deserved recognition," said Governor Joe Lombardo. "Carlene's unwavering passion, expertise, and dedication make her a true role model for all education professionals in Nevada and a valuable asset to our education system."

    "At the Nevada Department of Education, we like to talk about the importance of meeting our students where they are. Carlene Pacheco takes this quite literally and meets her students and their families wherever they need her to be," said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "This level of dedication and the results she achieves are why she's being honored with this prestigious national award. I am both proud and grateful that she is making such a difference here in Nevada."

    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.

    "Our 2023 RISE Awardee, Carlene Pacheco, has set a national example for what it means to raise the bar for creating welcoming, inclusive school cultures that help students and families from diverse backgrounds thrive," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. "By working passionately to meet the unique needs of Native American students and to create educational opportunities that honor and uplift tribal Nations, Ms. Pacheco has contributed to rising graduation rates at Churchill County High School and strengthened the fabric of the entire community. I congratulate Ms. Pacheco on this well-deserved recognition and thank her for reminding the nation yet again of the pivotal role that school support staff play in the success of students and families."

    More About Carlene Pacheco

    Ms. Carlene Pacheco is known for not only going above and beyond but anywhere and everywhere her students need her to be. She meets families at their homes, on the soccer field, even at the grocery store to make sure her students get the support they need to succeed. Ms. Pacheco is a paraprofessional and Title VI Liaison at Churchill County High School in the Churchill County School District. She is an advisor and counselor for Native American students and families in the district. Along with all her other work, she offers one-on-one tutoring, classroom support, and after-school tutoring. She is known for getting results, the graduation rate has increased over the last nine years for the students in her caseload. Her students know they can rely on her even after they graduate, some even reach out for help navigating higher education and scholarships.

    As part of her work, she helped the Churchill County School District build a deeper relationship with the tribal community. She's the Advisor for the "Strength of Nations Club" and helped found the "One of Many" group. She also supported one of her students to create the "Catch My Breath Youth Vaping Prevention Program," in partnership with the New Frontier Treatment Center. Churchill County High School is now looking to expand that program.

    "The mission of ChurchillCSD's Indian Education Program is designed to meet the unique academic and cultural needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in all of our district's schools.  Carlene Pacheco joined ChurchillCSD in 2013 as a Title VI Liaison and has worked with hundreds of students and families since that time to help achieve this goal.  We are proud of her advocacy for and support of our students in their advancement through school and their paths to graduation," said Derild Parsons, Director of Learning and Innovation for the Churchill County School District.

    More About the RISE Award

    The Governor's office chose two Nevada 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. Those two nominees were then sent to the U.S. Department of Education for consideration. The other Nevada nominee was Mr. Ronald McCullough, a paraprofessional at Las Vegas High School in Clark County School District. This is the third annual Nevada RISE Award selection.

    School staff eligible for this 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.

    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, 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 about NDE and join us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.