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CVMS vice principal is tops in state

by Merrie Leininger

Pam Calhoun, who has been a vice principal at Carson Valley Middle School for five years, was recently named the Nevada Vice Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

“It is kind of overwhelming. I was kind of in shock. I was notified when I was nominated back in August, but I just didn’t think a lot about it. In this job, you just have to keep moving real fast,” Calhoun said.

She was asked to fill out a questionnaire that was used to narrow the field. One of the questions was “What project have you been involved in at your school you are proud of?”

Calhoun said she wrote about the student advisor group and the special education programs.

Student advisors are a group that was formed with the help of a counselor. The students consult with Calhoun about racial issues and drug problems in the school.

“They are our eyes and ears. They have become a very strong group who has had a voice for three years,” she said.

She said she is proud of the special education programs and teachers she has helped bring to the school.

“It takes a lot of hard work,” she said.

The letter which notified Calhoun of her selection said she was chosen because of her “talent to communicate with teachers and students and her commitment to students.”

Through her 15 years in education, students have always been her priority, she said.

“Kids are the most important thing to me and they sense when they are the most important thing. Even though they will be the first to tell you I’m mean and I’m strict, they know they’re my priority,” she said.

Every winner gets a “Vice Principal of the Year” ring and $1,000 to use to go to the national conference or for whatever purpose, Calhoun said. She will be given the award in the spring.

The award is sponsored by the association and McDonalds.

She said she will not be going to the conference, because it is the same day as one of her son’s birthdays.

The money will be spent on doing something special for her 7th and 6th grade sons.

“They are really special. They are the ones that have to live with this lifestyle. They give up their time with me a lot and they are dragged to a lot of school dances and ball games,” she said. “We’re going to use this money to have some fun together.”

CVMS Principal Roger Gerson said Calhoun is very personable and a great balance between himself and Vice Principal Howard Bennett.

“She is very student-centered and develops close relationships with the students. She has a lot of insights into what makes the school tick,” he said.

Gerson said she has improved intervention for students who need a little extra help.

“She has worked very closely with teachers to strengthen academic intervention. She has done a lot of follow-up with students and parents making sure they get what they need so they don’t slip through the cracks,” he said.

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