Minden third-grade teacher Colin Kvasnicka starred as Macbeth in the Scottish play while a Douglas High drama student in 2003.
Seventeen years later, the one-time actor who grew up in Carson Valley, was recognized as Douglas County School District’s 2019-20 Distinguished Educator.
Kvasnicka is a 2004 Douglas High School graduate, who has been teaching since he graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I must thank my wife, for always supporting me even when I was filled with self-doubt in my early teaching career,” Kvasnicka said on Thursday. “I worked in private school education for years and believed I did not have the skillset to teach in my childhood home of the Carson Valley. She knew I was more capable than I gave myself credit for, and secretly put my resume into the Douglas County School District. From that moment of my first interview to the present, I have met many talented teachers, grew so much as an educator, and gained lasting friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I owe it all to my wonderful partner, my number one fan, my rock: Katie.”
The awards are typically given out in spring, but were delayed until Oct. 8 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Former Douglas County School superintendent Teri White said Kvasnicka was already ahead of the curve on new curriculum.
“He finds joy and enthusiasm in teaching,” she said. “This educator always has time to assist teachers as well as students.”
White said the award recognized the value of Kvasnicka’s individuality.
“Patience, joy, innovation, passion and a bit of lovable quirkiness come to mind when many people think about and describe this educator.”
A Star Wars fan, White noted he would sometimes bring a light saber to crosswalk duty.
After White announced the award, the video cut to a live feed of Principal Ken Stoll presenting the award to Kvasnicka at his home in an homage to the old Publisher’s Clearing House presentations.
“Colin has only been with us a few short years, but he made a large impact,” Stoll said. “He has a wonderful rapport with parents, students, and staff. He’s quick to jump in to help.”
Stoll said Kvasnicka came up with Tech Tuesday, where teachers at Minden Elementary share ideas and new applications.
White also announced that Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School clerk Nichole Harrison was named the distinguished support staff member for 2019-20.
Principal Guy Olguin praised Harrison for her efforts on behalf of the school.
“She is the first face to see every arriving student, teacher and parent at Pau-Wa-Lu,” he said. “She has a positive attitude and a great smile.”
Harrison is often the first person at the school, checking to see if any substitutes are required for the day.
“That’s where the challenge really begins,” Olguin said. “There are many days that we don’t have all our positions filled by qualified substitute teachers. That’s when Nichole calls all active substitutes to see if any are available. I can’t remember a day when we haven’t been able to get every position filled.”
District Colin Kvasnicka Minden Elementary
Secondary Kelly Winter Douglas High School
Elementary Alyssa Park Scarselli
Gardnerville Elementary Staci Olocki
Meneley Elementary Stephanie McMillen
Jacks Valley Elementary Brandi Gramolini
Piñon Hills Elementary Cindy Patmont
Zephyr Cove Elementary Keely O’Donnell
Carson Valley Middle Amanda Laca
Pau-Wa-Lu Middle Teresa Freitas
Distinguished Support Staff
District Nichole Harrison Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Department Craig Altringer Facilities
Secondary Roxanne Young Douglas High
Elementary Amanda Keith Minden Elementary School
Student Health Services Jennifer Aldridge
Transportation Jay Dossey
District Office Caryn Harper
School Nutrition Debbie Kepler
Whittell High Deborah Duffy
ASPIRE Academy High School Renee Bidart
Carson Valley Middle School Jeanette Downs
Zephyr Cove Elementary School Jennifer Galli
Piñon Hills Elementary School Pattie Dack
Jacks Valley Elementary School Carol Patrick
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