Outstanding Educator and Student Awards
NUSD Superintendent Outstanding Educator and Student Awards
Posted on 03/27/2019
Honored Teacher

Nogales Unified School Superintendent Fernando Parra honored a host of students, a teacher, and a retiring administrator through the presentation of his Superintendent’s Outstanding Award at the governing board meeting March 25, 2019.

            Johanna Lopez and family


Four generations of student Johanna Simpson from Wade Carpenter Middle School were in attendance as she was recognized for her academic and athletic achievements. Simpson’s great grandmother, Magda Parra, her grandmother Alma Lopez, her mother Johanna Lopez, and her siblings Dominique and Estevon beamed as Supt. Parra read off a long list of Simpson’s accomplishments.  One of her latest accolades was being named the Arizona 2019 Middle School Solo State Cheer Champion.

  NHS Cheer Squad 2019         

  Supt. Parra also honored the entire Nogales High School cheerleading squad, which has won state and national championships. Under the direction of Coach Carolyn Hernandez.  At the ceremony there were four sets of mother-daughters who had all been on the cheerleading squad under Hernandez’s guidance: Dominique Zuniga and her mother Mayra Zuniga; Daniela Carosilva and her mother Erica Carosilva; Camille Hecht and her mother Bania Hecht; and Hailey Orozco Bacon and her mother Abby Orozco Bacon.

HernandezIn addition to honoring the varsity cheer squad, Supt. Parra selected Coach Hernandez to receive the Superintendent Outstanding Teacher award.  Governing board clerk Dr. Marcelino Varona Jr. noted that “Shortcake”, as Hernandez is known, has served NUSD for 40 years, joining as a physical education teacher and beginning her coaching career in a variety of sports in 1979. In 2011 she was recognized as the National Coach of the Year.

            Supt. Parra added that Hernandez is “exceptional” not only because of the numerous awards and championships her squads have earned, but also for the academic accomplishments of her students. The average Grade Point Average (GPA) of those on the squad is a 3.4 out of a possible 4.0.  Parra noted that it will be extremely difficult to replace Hernandez, who is retiring at the end of the school year, due to her ability to positively influence her students in all aspects of their lives.   

Dr. Joan Molera


  Dr. Joan Molera, principal at Desert Shadows Middle School, was also recognized with a golden apple award for her dedication and leadership. Dr. Molera will be leaving at the end of June to pursue other goals, including possibly teaching at the post-secondary level. She joined NHS in 1987 as an English teacher and, as she said, stayed after meeting her future husband, Rudy Molera, who was also an NHS teacher at the time she arrived.

            Dr. Molera shared a statement she said she keeps in her office: “In my heart, and in this school, there will be peace, strength, and purpose.”