2019 Employees of the Year

District Honors Educators and Employees of the Year
Posted on 04/24/2019
Clockwise: Jacques, Pike, Thomas and Fuson

Nicolas Jacques, music teacher at Carson Middle School, was honored last night as the Carson City School District’s Educator of the Year. Additionally, James “Jim” Pike, special needs school bus driver for transportation, was recognized as the Education Support Professional (ESP) Employee of the Year for the district.

During the school board meeting and annual event, the Carson City School District also recognized Vicki Thomas, LPN, school nurse at Empire Elementary School, was honored as Health Professional of the Year, and Tasha Fuson, principal at Carson High School, was named Administrator of the Year. Featured in the left image clockwise: Jacques, Pike, Thomas and Fuson.

Jacques and Pike were selected from 25 site winners including 11 teachers and 14 ESP employees who were selected from peers and administrators from various sites and schools within the district. Health Professionals and Administrators of the year were selected from nominations from 11 health professionals and 27 school administrators. Each candidate endured a series of strenuous interview questions from a panel of comprehensive judges. Upon conclusion of those interviews, the panel then made the difficult decision of selecting “one” ESP employee of the year, “one” educator of the year, “one health professional of the year and “one” administrator of the year.

Other ESP Employees and Educators of the Year winners recognized and honored (by their site alphabetically) last night include:

  • Kimberly Cooley, distance education assistant at Carson High School
  • James Bean, physics and astronomy teacher at Carson High School
  • Ian Truesdell, computer network support technician at Carson Middle School
  • Nicolas Jacques, music teacher at Carson Middle School
  • Robert Ligon, lead custodian II at Eagle Valley Middle School
  • Mary “Katie” Larkin, Spanish teacher at Eagle Valley Middle School
  • Tyler Mireles, para professional IV (1:1) at Al Seeliger Elementary School
  • Robin Kato Brong, TOSA/Elementary STEM coach at Al Seeliger Elementary School
  • Triana Tijerina, para professional ESL at Bordewich Bray Elementary School
  • Amy Jensen, fifth grade teacher at Bordewich Bray Elementary School
  • Maria Alvarez, para professional ESL at Empire Elementary School
  • Adrienne Wiggins, TOSA/Math coach - Title I at Empire Elementary School
  • Naomi Redwine, library media technician at Fremont Elementary School
  • Sarah Quisenberry, third grade teacher at Fremont Elementary School
  • Lynette Putzer, office manager at Fritsch Elementary School
  • Bonnie Benson, fifth grade teacher at Fritsch Elementary School
  • Lenys Salazar Cano, para professional ESL at Mark Twain Elementary School
  • Miriam Arroyo, ESL teacher at Mark Twain Elementary School
  • Monica Ward, office manager at Pioneer High School
  • Phyllis Atkinson, science teacher at Pioneer High School
  • Nancy Stilwell, senior office specialist II for Student Support Services
  • Kimberly Shepherd, adaptive physical education teacher for Student Support Services
  • James “Jim” Pike, special needs school bus driver for Transportation
  • Karen Jackson, administrative secretary - Facilities Bond Projects for Operations
  • Ariel Heinz, human resources analyst for the District Office

Mr. Jacques earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and began student teaching at Edward C. Reed High School in 2008. In 2011, he earned a Master’s in Instrumental Music Education from UNR and served as the band and choir director at Dayton Intermediate School. He began working for the Carson City School District in 2012 as a music educator at Carson Middle School teaching sixth, seventh and eighth grade. He also earned his National Board Certification earlier this year.

Mr. Jacques has received several awards throughout his teaching career. He recently had the honor of serving as the guest conductor for the 2019 Washoe County sixth grade Honor Band, leading nearly 200 band students in the Pioneer Theatre in Reno. The Nevada Music Educators Association (NMEA) recognized him as the New Music Educator of the Year in 2014, and he currently serves as the NMEA All-state chair. In his spare time, he serves as the director of the Capital City Community Band. In addition to last night’s award, as the District Educator of the Year, Mr. Jacques will have the opportunity to compete statewide for Nevada Teacher of the Year.

For more than 12 years, Mr. Pike has worked as a special needs bus driver for the Carson City School District. Prior to driving for the school district, Mr. Pike worked 25 years as an installer, repairman and maintenance splicer for AT&T in northern California. According to the letter he submitted after being nominated for employee of the year, he shared the following.

“In 1959, I contracted a virus known as encephalitis from a mosquito bite,” he said in the letter. “It was a form of sleeping sickness and had a very high mortality rate. I had a fever for days and as a result, was laid up in a coma for five days. With a lot of prayer from my family, especially my mother, I woke up Thanksgiving morning. It was a miracle and gift to my family. I was later told that he could not have children. So when I started driving the special needs children to and from school, it was like a special gift to me. There are more than two dozen children I care for. My job is not something that I HAVE to do, it is something I GET to do!”

Ms. Fuson earned a Bachelor’s in Special Education from UNLV in 1995 and later earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from UNLV in 2002. In 2003, she served as dean of students for one year at Schofield Middle School in Las Vegas before taking the position of assistant principal for three years (2004 to 2007) at Foothill High School in Henderson. She moved to northern Nevada in 2007 and served as the assistant principal at Reno High School before being hired as the principal of Spanish Springs High School from 2009 to 2014. She joined Carson City School District in 2014 and has served as the principal at Carson High School ever since. Among the many accolades and leadership roles, Fuson currently serves as the chair of the Nevada ACT Site Council and is a principal mentor for Nevada Leads.

Ms. Thomas LPN, has more than 45 years of experience in the field of healthcare. She earned her LVN/LPN nursing license in 1967 from Pasadena City College in southern California and began her nursing career at Arcadia Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, Calif. After moving to Carson City, she served as a school nurse for 10 years at Carson High School from 1979 to 1989. She then worked as the nurse at Empire Elementary School for 19 years from 1989 to 2008. She has continued to serve as a nurse for Empire since 2015.