Innovative teacher recognized for efforts

David Roddy, CCSD Communications

As a former vice president at a Fortune 500 company, Ian Salzman was viewed by many as being a highly motivated person. However, nothing has motivated him more than the experience of surviving eight months of chemotherapy.
With a revised outlook on life since the treatment and recovery from cancer, Salzman has continued to pour his heart and soul into doing what he loves best – teaching. The energy that Salzman brings to the classroom is one of the major reasons why he was recently selected as the 2012 Kiwanis “Educator of the Year.”
Salzman was selected from five finalists that also included: Jennifer Hemme from Green Valley High School; Kelly Mabel from Las Vegas Academy; Louis Markouzis from Liberty High School; and Jeremy Olson from Las Vegas High School.
As the educator of the year, Salzman is honored but in receiving the award, he also realizes that he represents thousands of great Clark County School District teachers, who also pour their heart and soul into their work on a daily basis. He is also quick to credit those who helped him along the way.
“My mother was a teacher and inspired me to become one,” said Salzman. “My father was a police officer and kept me from getting into too much trouble; my principal, Bob Gerye, is an incredible mentor and I work with a tremendously talented and dedicated group of teachers.”
While Salzman has the utmost respect for his principal, in turn, Gerye appreciates the efforts of his teacher he hired six years ago. In the nomination form, Gerye described Salzman as a “teacher leader who inspires both students and fellow educators to achieve higher levels of performance.” He then provided bullet points of a few areas where Salzman has made a tremendous impact at the school and in the community:
Increased enrollment in advanced placement English language and composition from 40 to 110 students
Developed one of the most successful advanced placement teaching strategies, which has been turned into a presentation (Peer Scoring and Review of Essays) that will be given at the National Council of Teachers of English meeting in November Revived the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program that targets mid-range students and was in jeopardy of disappearing due to budget cuts. Due to the success in reviving the AVID program, Spring Valley High School is now being considered as a national AVID demonstration school Partnered with the advanced placement social studies teacher to launch Model United Nations His work as a driving force behind the Southern Nevada Writing Project, where he serves as co-director
“Ian Salzman is the epitome of the ‘total educator’ who puts students, AVID and college above all else as his mission in education,” said Gerye.
Although the spotlight is shining on Salzman as the Teacher of the Year, he would prefer to see it shine on his students, who provide him with inspiration.
“I get the most satisfaction from my job when students go on to great colleges and great careers, particularly the ones who might not have made it without my help and support, and come back to visit and thank me. I don’t think there is anything more gratifying than that,” he said.
As schools get ready to wrap up another year, Salzman is thankful for each day and the opportunity to make a difference in helping students grow and learn and he reflected on how his past continues to motivate him.
“Three years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent eight months of major chemotherapy. The treatment was so intense; I was unable to work for more than half a school year. I have been in remission for more than two years now, but the experience had a profound effect on the way I view my life and career. I view my work as an incredible privilege; I try to stay focused on aspects of my life that I think will really make a difference for other people and I really try not to sweat the small stuff.”
In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, congratulations to Salzman and all the CCSD teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students.