Governor Gordon opens 2020 RISE Award nominations


CHEYENNE, WYOMING (June 1, 2020) – Governor Mark Gordon, in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), has opened the 2020 application period for the Wyoming Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award.

This new award, passed by Congress in 2019 and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), honors classified school employees who provide exemplary service.

“Classified school employees help ensure our teachers can educate and students can learn in a safe, supportive environment,” Governor Gordon said. “I look forward to providing long-overdue recognition to these individuals who serve our education community.”

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A classified school employee can be an employee who works in any grade, from pre-kindergarten through high school, in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health, and student services, technical services, and skilled trades.

“What a wonderful opportunity to recognize and honor the people who truly make our schools run smoothly,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “At every school, I get the opportunity to visit, it’s just a pleasure to talk with our classified employees since I think they have some of the best ideas and insights on education in Wyoming.”

Nominees must, at a minimum, demonstrate excellence in the following areas: 

  • Work performance
  • School and community involvement
  • Leadership and commitment
  • Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc. who speak to the nominee’s exemplary work)
  • Enhancement of classified school employee’s image in the community and schools


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Letters of recommendation can be sited.

Individuals, local educational agencies, school administrators, professional associations, labor organizations, educational service agencies, nonprofit entities, private schools, and their representatives, parents, and students, and other groups may nominate someone by Tuesday, June 30.

The top two Wyoming applicants will be forwarded to USED by Sunday, November 1. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will select a single classified school employee from among the nominees to receive the RISE Award by the spring of 2021. Governor Gordon will honor nominees and finalists.

In addition, the USED will recognize the honoree and communicate his or her story in order to inspire excellence among classified school employees.

Nominations can be submitted electronically at

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