2023 MELLFIN John Nelson Parent Involvement Matters Award application 

The PIMA Award Application  Deadline for 2023 TBD

The MELLFIN John Nelson Parent Involvement Matters Award is an annual award for an immigrant parent whose exemplary contributions to Maryland public schools have led to improvements for Maryland public school children, schools, and districts. Nominees must demonstrate involvement in one or more of five core areas from Maryland’s PreK-12 Family Engagement Framework:

  • Welcoming all families:
    • Creating an environment where all stakeholders—parents, students, and school staff—feel valued and connected
    • Identifying and removing barriers
    • Cultivating a positive climate
  • Encouraging partnerships among schools, families, and communities:
    • Creating opportunities for engaging families and communities
    • Connecting students, families, and staff to expand learning opportunities and community services while working collaboratively with schools and community members
  • Supporting student learning and success:
    • Ensuring all families have opportunities to advocate for their own and other children
    • Engaging community support
  • Building capacity among school stakeholders:
    • Providing training and resources to school staff and families to ensure instructional equity
    • Enlist parents and parent organizations to recruit other parents to be involved in their children’s education
  • Promoting effective school-family communication:
    • Encouraging regular and meaningful two-way communication
    • Identifying and removing barriers for family engagement
    • Supporting targeted outreach efforts


To be considered for the MELLFIN John Nelson Parent Involvement Matters Award, nominees must:

1.       Be an immigrant parent

2.      Have a child in a Maryland public school

3.      Not be an employee of any Maryland public school system or the Maryland State Department of Education


To qualify for the award, the nominee must:

  • Be a consistent advocate of public education
  • Have had a significant, positive impact on public education with his/her creativity, innovation, and/or commitment at the school, district, or state level in one or more of the following areas:
    • Welcoming all families
    • Encouraging partnerships among schools, families, and communities
    • Supporting student learning and success
    • Building capacity among school stakeholders
    • Promoting effective school-family communication 
    • Encouraging regular and meaningful two-way communication

      To Complete the Nomination Form you will need to:
      Include the following sections:
      1. Sections 1a and 1b: Contact information for nominee and nominator
      2. Section 2: Nominator’s letter of recommendation
      3. Section 3: Letter of recommendation from a school staff member, community member, or a parent.
      Recommendation letters should describe the nominee’s outstanding contributions to public education as it or they relate to one or more areas of parent engagement as identified in Maryland’s PreK-12 Family Engagement Framework.

      The recommendation letters must be between 250 and 400 words or one full page in length, single spaced, and typeset in 12-point Times New Roman. Include the following information on the top-left corner of the page:

        • Name of nominee
        • Name and title of person writing the letter of recommendation
        • School/local school system
        • Phone number/email address

Previous Family Involvement Award Winners

Edvin Escalante, Queen Anne's County Public Schools

2021 Iris Antezana, Montgomery County Public Schools

2020 Katiuska Mera, Baltimore City Public Schools

2019 Maria Lopez Gomez, Queen Anne's County Public Schools

2018 Gulnara Gelashvilli, Anne Arundel County Public Schools

2017 Maria Rodriguez, Frederick County Public Schools

2016 Mujeres Abriendo Caminos (Women Opening Doors) Anne Arundel County

2015  Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Talbot County and The Featherstone Foundation, Baltimore City

2014 Identity Inc, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Montgomery County

2013 Parent Academy in Spanish, Howard County Public Schools

2012 International Rescue Committee and Baltimore City Community College

2011 Bollman Bridge Elementary School, Howard County Public Schools and Coastal Sunbelt Produce