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Nominations for RISE Award open to honor schools’ classified employees

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City News File)

CASPER, Wyo. – Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) have opened the nomination period for the Wyoming Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award, according to release from the governor’s office.

This new award was passed by Congress in 2019 and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

“Classified school employees help ensure our teachers can educate and students can learn in a safe, supportive environment,” Governor Gordon said in the release. “I look forward to providing long-overdue recognition to these individuals who serve our education community.”

According to the release, a classified school employee can be an employee who works in any grade, from pre-kindergarten through high school, in a number of occupational specialties including:

  • Paraprofessional
  • Clerical and administrative services, 
  • Transportation services, 
  • Food and nutrition services, 
  • Custodial and maintenance services, 
  • Security services, 
  • Health and student services, 
  • Technical services, 
  • Skilled trades.

“What a wonderful opportunity to recognize and honor the people who truly make our schools run smoothly,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “At every school I get the opportunity to visit, it’s just a pleasure to talk with our classified employees, since I think they have some of the best ideas and insights on education in Wyoming.”

Nominees must, at a minimum, demonstrate excellence in the following areas: 

  • Work performance; 
  • School and community involvement; 
  • Leadership and commitment; 
  • Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work);
  • Enhancement of classified school employees’ image in the community and schools.

Letters of recommendation can be cited.

Individuals, local educational agencies, school administrators, professional associations, labor organizations, educational service agencies, nonprofit entities, private schools and their representatives, parents and students, and other groups may nominate someone by June 30, 2020.

The top two Wyoming applicants will be forwarded to USED by November 1, 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will select a single classified school employee from among the nominees to receive the RISE Award by the spring of 2021. Governor Gordon will honor nominees and finalists. In addition, the USED will recognize the honoree and communicate his or her story in order to inspire excellence among classified school employees.