Douglas County educators recognized by state association |

Douglas County educators recognized by state association

by Scott Neuffer

Two Douglas County educators have been recognized by the Nevada Association of School Boards for their respective contributions to K-12 public education.

Superintendent Lisa Noonan was named superintendent of the year in the entire state, and likewise Carson Valley Middle School eighth-ninth-grade English teacher Susan Van Doren was named innovative educator of the year.

The awards were announced at the association’s annual conference Nov. 17 in Reno.

“It was a wonderful surprise to hear my name called for the award,” Noonan said. “It meant a great deal to me that the Douglas County School Board would nominated me for this honor. All of the superintendents in Nevada work very hard, and I have been the fortunate recipient of a lot of support over the last two years from board members, staff and colleagues.”

According to a press release issued by the association, the award for superintended recognizes “the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement.”

“Start with a large dose of optimism and enthusiasm, add a great deal of knowledge regarding administration and curriculum, mix in the ability to make thoughtful decisions that are consistent with the district’s vision, blend with honesty and integrity, sprinkle in a patient and calm demeanor, combine with forthright yet caring and respectful communication skills, then bake for two school years and you will have a very effective superintendent who is able to build relationships and demonstrate how to put students first. This is the description of the recipe that created Dr. Lisa Noonan as superintendent of the Douglas County School District,” stated the NASB.

The association highlighted Noonan’s communication skills:

“She seeks input from teachers, administrators, bargaining groups, and the public to formulate a range of options. She takes the time to think problems through and analyzes the ramifications associated with different solutions.”

Regarding innovative educator of the year, the award recognizes “those individuals who demonstrate their leadership by promoting and implementing innovative programs designed to improve student achievement.”

“Although Susan Van Doren’s students exceed expected achievement year after year, she is constantly questioning whether she is doing all she can to further achievement and opportunities,” said the NASB.

The association noted Van Doren’s standards-based grading system versus a traditional point-based system.

“She found that some high-achieving students would work the system to only achieve the grade they wanted instead of maintaining effort,” said the NASB. “She modified this to work with PowerSchool and has found that students are motivated to accomplish and learn. Instead of the previous 10 percent failure rate, she has had no students fail.”

The association also mentioned Van Doren’s role in piloting the SpringBoard curriculum at the middle school level to help align instruction in secondary grades.

“Her early work has shown great success and has led to more students in Advanced Placement English at the high school,” the NASB stated. “She adds audio clips and YouTube as she implements SpringBoard. The nomination form submitted for Ms. Van Doren included extensive examples of her effectiveness and quotes from students and administrators about her skillful and effective classroom teaching, her ability to motivate, her concern for all students, and even her attention to the smallest detail.”