2013 LESN Recognition Award

 picture of Paula DominguezThe Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) is pleased to recognize Paula Dominguez for her excellence in service to the Rhode Island General Assembly and the education staff network. LESN is honored to present Paula with the 2013 LESN Recognition Award.

Paula serves as the senior education policy advisor for the Rhode Island House of Representatives and is the director of the General Assembly's legislative research offfice. She brings a depth of knowledge and expertise to everything she works on and is wholly committed to what she does. Within her office, Paula worked extensively on the passage of the new educating funding formula. Her insights and work efforts enabled Rhode Island to develop, draft, and ultimately implement this new formula that is being employed to fund every public school district in Rhode Island.

Paula has been actively involved in LESN for many years. She served on the LESN Steering Committee, as an NCSL appointee, between 2008-2011. In this capacity, she helped develop a fundraising roadmap, wrote several grant proposals, and made contact with a number of research-based organizations. She has also participated in countless LESN initiatives, including coordinating, facilitating, and presenting at a number of LESN sessions during meetings of the Education Commission of the States and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Paula continues with great skill and professionalism to provide invaluable guidance and expertise to the network in maintaining a sustainable strategic planning process focused on obtaining grant funding to support leadership and professional development activities for LESN members.

Paul Headlee, the deputy division manager for Budget & Policy Analysis (Idaho) and Kathy Hanlon, a senior research analyst (Iowa), are the 2012-2013 co-chairs and commented on the selection of Paula for this award, stating:

"Paula's dedication to the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) cannot be understated. It is so appropriate that she be honored for her many accomplishments and hard work to improve the legislative process. Her experience and efforts led LESN to fund professional development opportunities for numerous legislative staff who were able to bring that knowledge back to their own legislatures. As LESN co-chairs, we recognize Paula for her professionalism, competence, and integrity in her service to the Legislature and the public."

Thank you, Paula, for your tireless service to the Rhode Island General Assembly and your long-lasting legacy to the Legislative Education Staff Network.

Previous Recipients

The Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) annually recognizes an outstanding education legislative staff member who has provided outstanding service to the legislative process and who has been active in the network.  To be eligible for the award, legislative staff must meet the criteria set forth in the award guidelines and chosen by the selection committee.  The selection committee consists of four members including the current LESN steering committee co-chairs, one current LESN steering committee member and one former steering committee member, each to be appointed by the current co-chairs.  Nominations are submitted to the committee for consideration.   The award winner is recognized at the Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Forum and at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit (formerly Annual Meeting).  Sara Shelton the NCSL LESN Coordinator in the Denver office. 

Previous winners of the award are:        

  • 2012 -- Jan Yamane, Deputy Auditor/General Counsel, Hawaii
  • 2011 -- Frances Maestas, Director, Legislative Education Study Committee, New Mexico 
  • 2010 -- Helen James, Senior Staff Attorney, Tennessee
  • 2009 -- Mark Hudson, Senior Legislative Analyst, Arkansas
  • 2008 -- Kathy Hanlon, Senior Nonpartisan Education Drafter and Staffer, Legislative Services Agency, Iowa
  • 2007 -- Audrey Carr, Committee Staff Administrator, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
  • 2006-- Philip McCarthy, Legislative Analyst, Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, Maine
  • 2005 -- David Summers, Chief Legislative Analyst, Office of the Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, Florida
  • 2004 -- Julie Pelegrin, Senior Attorney, Legislative Legal Services, Colorado
  • 2003 -- Ethel Alston, Analyst, Legislative Research Commission, Kentucky
  • 2002-- Cathy Eslinger, Ballot Analyst, Legislative Counsel, Colorado General Assembly
  • 2001 -- H. Pepper Sturm, Chief Deputy Research Director, Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada
  • 2000 -- Pauline Rindone, Director, Legislative Education Study Committee, New Mexico


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