Nevada educator award to be named in honor of slain Sparks teacher

The 2014 Nevada Teacher of the Year award will be named in honor of Michael Landsberry, the teacher who died putting himself between a shooter and students at Sparks Middle School earlier this year.

Sparks seventh-grader Jose Reyes, 12, came to school on Oct. 21 with a semi-automatic handgun, shooting and injuring two students about 7:15 a.m. before the first bell rang. Landsberry tried to stop Reyes but was killed by the student shooter, who then killed himself.

“On his last day as a teacher, Michael demonstrated an extraordinary level of dedication to his students and professional poise during a time of crisis,” Nevada Superintendent of Public Schools Dale Erquiaga said on Monday. “I want to recognize his service and sacrifice by presenting the 2014 Michael Landsberry Teacher of the Year award.”

The Nevada Department of Education reported Monday that Erquiaga told Landsberry’s wife about the award, and she supported naming it for her husband, a Marine veteran. The couple celebrated their wedding anniversary three days before the shooting.

The 2014 winner will be announced later this month. Nominations were due Oct. 1. Any licensed teacher currently working full time at an accredited Nevada school in a classroom from kindergarten through 12th grade is eligible.

The 2013 Nevada Teacher of the Year was Adam Whatley of Carson High School.

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