Educators Recognized by RSIC Leadership

Educators from four schools of which children who reside at the Reno Colony or in Hungry Valley attend, were recently recognized by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony leadership.

“We have worked so well in collaborative efforts,” San San Tin, the RSIC Education Manager, told the Tribal Council, “I am honored and pleased to present to you, these school administrators from the Washoe County School District.”

WCSD Administrators
Washoe County School District Administrators were honored by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Education Department and the Colony’s leadership for their dedication and collaborative efforts for the academic success of Native children. Back row, left to right: Ruth Sampson-Guerrero, Jody McCloud, Theresa Coffman, Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, Principal Dave Keller and Darrell Bill. Front row, left to right: Robin Eagle, Principal Gina Leonhard, Dr. Ginny Knowles, Kristen Gilkensen, Venra Nuno, Jacqueline Quoetone and Judith Miller.


Tin introduced Jesse Hall Elementary Dean of Students Kristen Gilkeson.  Tin noted Gilkeson’s efforts with the vertical meetings in which the faculty from three schools, Jesse Hall, Shaw Middle School and Spanish Springs High, solicit input from parents regarding school engagement.

“I just enjoy working with your community and getting to know your children,” Gilkeson said. “They are beautiful children and they are full of radiant joy.”

Gilkeson is transferring to Bud Beasley Elementary School following the 2014 academic year.

Tin told the Tribal Council that the principal at Jesse Hall, Dave Keller, would be transferring to another school in the fall.

“I’m sad to say that Mr. Keller, the Principal at Jesse Hall, will be moving on,” Tin announced. “Mr. Keller was the first one to engage with our department staff and he was always very open and very helpful to us.”

Keller said the relationship he had with the RSIC was mutually beneficial.
“I definitely have grown as principal,” Keller said. “Although I’m moving, I want everyone
to know how sad I am and I think if the opportunity hadn’t arisen, I would have stayed
at Jesse Hall another 10 years.

After completing 20 years as the principal at Vaughn Middle School, Dr. Ginny Knowles was recognized.

“Dr. Knowles has seen many tribal members come through her offices,” Tin said. “We want to acknowledge her and all her contributions.”

Knowles said that over the last two decades, Vaugh Middle School has absolutely been her passion and her joy.

“I’ve seen so many families come through; in fact, Randy Melendez was at my school just the other day and we were looking at pictures and reminiscing,” Knowles said. “I am truly going to miss everyone and thank you so much for the honor.”

According to Tin, Gina Leonard, who was recently selected as a Principle of the Year for her success at Shaw Middle School, also worked well with the RSIC personnel.

“We know who to go to when we have issues,” Tin said. Leonard described her job as a wonderful pleasure.

“Thank you so much; this is an honor because it is absolutely a privilege to work with this community, all the people in the education department and everyone through the
Colony,” Leonard said. “Getting our kids through is really the bottom line and that is what it is all about.

Finally, Spanish Springs Vice Principal Jay Salter was acknowledged by the Tribal Council.
Salter, who has served as an educator at SSHS for eight year, is leaving his post to become the site administrator for Washoe Inspire.

“Mr. Salter touched base with many of parents and is a much respected person,” said Tanya Hernandez one of the RSIC Education Advisors.

Tin agreed.

“Mr. Salter has been an instrumental individual in mentoring our Native youth, collaborating with the RSIC Education Department staff in finding resources, funding and avenues for our students succeed.

Each of the educators was presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by RSIC Chairman Arlan D. Melendez along with beaded ink pens designed in the respective school’s colors.  Out going principals Keller, Dr. Knowles, Leonard, and Salter were gifted Pendleton blankets.