Pamela Ertel, Third Grade Teacher at Minden Elementary, Named 2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year

Immediate Release


Greg Bortolin
Carson City, NV - November 04, 2016

Gov. Brian Sandoval today named Pamela Ertel, a third grade teacher at Minden Elementary School, the 2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

“Education is my top priority and it is an honor to recognize Ms. Ertel who is truly a special teacher,” said Gov. Sandoval who presented Ertel with the award today at Minden Elementary. “She has taught in our state for 32 years and devoted her career to finding better ways to teach and provide a positive math learning environment for her students. In addition to being a gifted teacher she has given countless hours tutoring children after school and at summer camps.”

Other finalists for the 2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year announced today by the Nevada Department of Education were: 

  • Richard Knoeppel: eleventh/twelfth grade Architectural Design at Advanced Technologies Academy (Clark County School District)
  • Anne S. Lenhares: seventh grade social studies at Carson Middle School (Carson City School District)
  • Jerri Kerns: third grade at Riverview Elementary School (Lyon County School District)
  • Claritssa Sanchez: eleventh/twelfth grade social studies at Canyon Springs High School (Clark County School District)

“Rewarding and recognizing great teachers is one of the highlights of my year,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I think back to special teachers who influenced me and I know there are a lot of successful students who look back at Pamela Ertel as someone who made a difference in their lives.”

Ken Stoll, Minden Elementary Principal, said Ertel is perhaps one of, if not the most, child centered teachers he has ever had the good fortune to work with.

“She demonstrates a genuine interest for each and every student regardless of whether they are the best behaved child or a challenge,” Stoll said. “Her dedication to her students goes well beyond the school day and the classroom.”

Ertel will now receive consideration for the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers. This program identifies exceptional teachers across the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year (STOYs). From that group, a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent millions of educators, selects four NTOY finalists based on a the following criteria:

The candidate is a STOY in a state-approved or accredited school; prekindergarten through grade twelve, who is planning to continue in an active teaching status.

The candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and:

    1. Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
    2. Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
    3. Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large.
    4. Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong     learning.
    5. Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.

The four NTOY finalists are announced in January. The NTOY is then selected among the finalists after rigorous in-person interviews with the Selection Committee, and announced to the country in late April/May.