BCPS in the News

2016 School-Related/District Employee of the Year Finalists for Broward County Public Schools

Monday, March 21, 2016
Congratulations to the six finalists for Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) 2016 School-Related/District Employee of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to BCPS schools and students. The winner is announced during the Centennial Caliber Awards recognizing outstanding employees on Friday, April 1, 2016, at 6 p.m., at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. 

The Centennial Caliber Awards presenting and title sponsor is BrightStar Credit Union. Also supporting the Centennial Caliber Awards are platinum sponsors Bank of America, Coventry, Intel/Lenovo and Nova Southeastern University; gold sponsor After School Programs, Inc.; silver sponsors Pearson and Sunshine Child Care; copper sponsors Grand Canyon University, Herff Jones and JC White; and bronze sponsors Broward Principals’ and Assistants’ Association and Catapult Learning.

Congratulations to the 2016 School-Related/District Employee of the Year Finalists:

Mary Alvarez, Confidential Secretary and Office Manager, Lyons Creek Middle School
Mary Alvarez, confidential secretary and office manager at Lyons Creek Middle School, boosts a 16-year perfect attendance record. Described as a consummate professional, she is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming school environment. Alvarez is willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. Her outstanding interpersonal skills contribute to camaraderie among clerical staff, administrators, faculty, students and Parent Teacher Association members alike. She has earned the respect of her school community and all stakeholders.


Solange Dawson, Supervisor, Before & After School Child Care, Heron Heights Elementary
Solange Dawson supervises Before & After School Child Care (BASCC) at Heron Heights Elementary School, where she leads a staff of 20, coordinates activities, recruits personnel and oversees the supervision of students. Her passion for education is Dawson’s foundation for success. She has initiated diverse activities to broaden student learning while having fun. Hard working and conscientious, Dawson serves as a mentor and trainer in the BASCC program community, sharing her knowledge with staff at schools throughout the District.


Nikole G. Gray, Paraprofessional, Dillard Elementary School
Nikole Gray’s ability to work with students from diverse backgrounds contributes to her success as a paraprofessional at Dillard Elementary School. Formerly serving as community liaison, she enrolled in university courses to increase her knowledge and social skills needed to become an effective paraprofessional. Gray’s primary responsibilities are to assist with classroom instruction while providing a safe and comfortable environment, and maintaining open communication with parents. She often works as an interim substitute teacher and collaborates with teachers to find solutions to help all students. 


Shilpa H. Parikh, Micro Computer Technology Specialist, Winston Park Elementary School
As micro computer technology specialist, Shilpa Parikh manages and maintains technology throughout Winston Park Elementary School. She oversees the school website, computer hardware and software, and coordinates students’ online testing. In her 16 years at Winston Park Elementary, Parikh has never been constrained by a job title. She’s done it all – independently and as part of a team. No task is too big or too small. Also a frequent volunteer, she is an active member of the Parent Teacher Association and serves on a number of school committees. 


Jacqueline R. Sanchez, Micro Computer Technical Specialist, Griffin Elementary School

Jacqueline Sanchez is a micro computer technical specialist at Griffin Elementary School where she provides technical assistance and computer hardware and software support. Devoted to her students and parents, she opens the computer lab at 7:30 a.m. so that students can work on computer-based literacy activities. Sanchez is best known for the responsibilities she assumes outside of her primary role. For the past eight years, she has sponsored the Eco-Patrol Environmental Club and helped students to operate a recycling service to learn more about protecting and saving the environment. She has helped the school to receive several environmental grants and awards.

Nicole Sanchez, Secretary, Exceptional Student Education, Coral Glades High School
Nicole Sanchez has served as secretary for the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department at Coral Glades High School since 2008. As an administrative secretary, her responsibilities include working with Business Partners in Education and serving on the Innovation Zone Committee. Over the past eight years, Sanchez has contributed to the school and community beyond her duties as secretary. One of her most notable successes is the ESE Transition Fair, an annual event where ESE students who will graduate or age out of the program and their parents can learn about community resources. Sanchez is a mentor to students and colleagues alike. 

Editors Note: See attached PDF.  High resolution photos (JPEGs) available upon request.

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has over 265,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 103 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 208 different countries and speak 181 different languages. For more information about BCPS and the Centennial Celebration, visit browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools, like BCPS on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.