Vancouver Public Schools’ Hilda Lail has been named 2024 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year by ESD 112. Lail is the District Spanish Family Advocate, connecting families to programs, supports, and services that she helped to design and implement throughout the school district.
She joins a statewide list of eight other regional educational service district finalists for the Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year Award, which is determined by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The state award winner and regional finalists will have the opportunity to participate in a year of leadership development and are invited to several annual recognition events.
“Hilda has a heart for community engagement that shines through everything she does, and what she does is A LOT!” wrote Jeff Snell, Superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools. “Hilda’s leadership is making a difference for the families of the 21,000 students we serve in our district. She is an example of what is possible when we come together as a community focused on learning and love for our students.”
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. In her current role, Lail coordinates, implements, and facilitates programming for The Plaza, a twice-weekly gathering for district families to develop their English skills while their children engage in enrichment activities. Serving approximately 180 people on any given day, Snell shared, “The impact is felt through student enrichment and increased family confidence in our district as a trusted partner in the development of their children.”
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.
“Hilda is a fierce family advocate with tremendous compassion and kindness,” wrote Victor Cato, HR Director for VPS, in a letter of recommendation. “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.”
A mother of students who has worked with Lail in her role as District Spanish Family Advocate, Lariza Castro, shared the impact that she has had on students and families through the district.
“I have seen Hilda Lail transform the dynamic of my school community,” Castro wrote in her letter of recommendation. “She has opened so many doors for families like me… I have seen how many parents, like me, who have gone from being a little shy at school activities to wanting to participate, help, and feel like we all have a place.”
To learn more about the Classified School Employee of the year award, visit OSPI’s website. More information about the state award will be released soon.