Nevada finds top teacher in Minden |

Nevada finds top teacher in Minden

Pam Ertel receives her award for being Nevada's teacher of the year from Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday.
Shannon Litz | Nevada Governor’s Office

The Silver State struck gold in Minden on Friday when Gov. Brian Sandoval arrived to surprise Pam Ertel, who had been named the state’s teacher of the year.

On Friday, Ertel was sitting with her Minden Elementary School class in an assembly when Gov. Brian Sandoval called her name.

Ertel said she has taught for nearly 34 years, with more than three decades with the Douglas County School District, arriving in 1985.

Superintendent Teri White said the district was pleased Ertel was selected.

“We’re proud of all the teachers in our district,” she said. “We feel fortunate that one of them has been selected to represent the state.”

Curriculum Director Romy Cronin said Ertel’s love of learning made her an excellent coach for her fellow teachers.

“The amazing thing about Pam is that she is a learner herself,” she said.

Sandoval called the day a “Governor’s recess,” as he encouraged the children at the school.

“I have the honor of announcing the teacher of the year, who comes from right here at the home of the Rattlers,” he said.

Ertel said her advice to new teachers is to cherish their students.

“Love the kids,” she said. “You can do anything if you love the kids.”

She was named Douglas County School District’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year in May. Winning the state award makes her eligible to be named the national teacher of the year. Ertel said she plans to go to Washington D.C. next spring for the ceremony. She was selected as state teacher of the year from among the 17 Nevada school districts.

Family members, including her mother, sister and daughter, waited in the school’s art room until after the assembly started, so they didn’t spoil the surprise.

Ertel has taught for 33 years, working in Arizona before coming to Douglas County to teach at Meneley Elementary School in 1985.

Ertel is a 1978 Carson High School graduate.