Vancouver Public Schools’ Hilda Lail has been recognized as the 2023 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. Lail was presented with the award on September 30 by State Superintendent Chris Reykdal at the 2023 Educator Awards Ceremony in Olympia, Washington.
“It’s beautiful to see how Hilda builds community,” said Jeff Snell, Superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools. “Her impact is felt through student enrichment and increased family confidence in our district as a trusted partner in the development of their children.”
With more than 10 years working in various roles at Vancouver Public Schools (VPS), Lail has worked as a paraeducator, Family Community Resource Coordinator, and for the past few years, has served as the District Spanish Family Advocate. Her contributions led to Lail being recognized by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction as Classified School Employee of the Year.
“This award is a great honor to me. It’s not just a recognition of my work and dedication, but a testament to the incredible team and support that have been with me throughout this journey,” stated Lail. “This is also a reminder that perseverance and passion can lead to extraordinary achievements. I am deeply honored and motivated to continue making a positive impact in my field.”
Lail also manages VPS En Español, a YouTube program that features important information for families in Spanish, and the VPS Family Advisory Group, one of five advisory structures at VPS. The family advisory is comprised of a group of 25-30 people that represent and reflect the broader district demographics, ensuring a more equitable and diverse representation in strategic planning work, sharing feedback, and helping to review and prioritize input received from the community.
In addition to coordinating these groups and programs, Lail also coordinates programming that enhances access for multilingual families with numerous community partners and agencies.
During the nomination process for the award, Lail’s colleague shared that, “Hilda is a fierce family advocate with tremendous compassion and kindness. …Hilda embodies the values that exemplify inclusivity and diversity which make her an excellent representative of Vancouver Public Schools, our region, and the state of Washington.”
As part of her tenure, Lail will move forward to compete for the national Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) award, administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Winners will be announced in Spring 2024.