Meet the Staff

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  • Dawn A

    Steve Constantino, Principal

    Hello RISE students. I am so fortunate to be part of the leadership team at RISE and am grateful to be involved with a staff that is dedicated to adult education. We strive in supporting adults in reaching their academic dreams and  help open doors to the future. I have been a teacher and administrator in the Washoe County School District and have worked at Damonte Ranch High School, Hug High School, Vaughn Middle School and now RISE. I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Social Studies at Stony Brook University in New York. I also earned my Master’s in Education and School Administration from the University of Phoenix. I have three wonderful children and enjoy being outside in the beautiful Truckee Meadows. I love working at RISE and gain my strength from witnessing hundreds of adults show courage in returning to school.



    Dawn A

    Dawn Adams, Assistant Principal

    I am proud to be the assistant principal at RISE. I have a B.A. in Spanish/Film from UNR, a M.A.TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from UNR and a M.Ed in School Administration from Columbia University.  I coordinated the Carpenter Union's ESL and Math courses for adults for four years while also teaching in middle and high schools in WCSD.  I have instructed adults in university courses at UNR, and SNC for teachers pursuing their ELL endorsement for five years. I coordinated the middle and high school ELL programs for the school district before coming to RISE. My passion is empowering the community through education and I love working at RISE because we work to that end EVERYDAY!


  • Shannon Q Shannon Quinn, Counselor (A-L)

    I moved to Reno from San Diego, CA where I earned my MA in Education with an emphasis in Counseling and Guidance from Point Loma Nazarene University and a BA in Sociology from California State University, San Marcos. I also hold my Board Certification in School Counseling. I have been a school counselor since 2006. Before becoming a school counselor I worked  as a Financial Aid Counselor and an Academic Events and Projects Coordinator for Thomas Jefferson School of Law. I have also worked in a variety of community agencies and educational programs.  I have been working at RISE since April 2014. I love working at RISE because I get to interact with amazing students that challenge and inspire me every day!

  • Christi

    Christi Klyne, Counselor M-Z

    I earned my BA in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento. Following graduation, I worked in the real estate industry and legal field for nine years. I then continued my education at the University of Phoenix in Reno and earned my MS in School Counseling. I’ve been a school counselor since 2011 and have worked at RISE since 2015. I hold my Board Certification in School Counseling. I enjoy working at RISE because I truly believe that everyone progresses according to their own timeline and I embrace the growth mindset.

  • Jeff  Jeff Levine, Distance Education Coordinator

    I am the distance education coordinator as well as teach Math proficiency and music.  I have a BA in philosophy from Brandeis University.  This is my 2nd year full time teaching adults.  I have worked previously with adults here in Reno as well as in California.  I like, actually love teaching at RISE for many reasons.  The most important reason is that I have never worked at a school that listens to student voice as well as teacher voice to assist in creating a program which gives the student the greatest chance to succeed and thrive. 

  • Janelle Janelle Maddox, CASA Coordinator

    I graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in 2000 with a B.S. in Special Education and recently completed a M.Ed. in teaching Reading. This is my 16th year teaching in WCSD and my 9th year working with adults. I love being a part of RISE Academy for Adult Achievement because I am passionate about helping adults to improve their academic skills, finish high school, and achieve their dreams. I am proof that learning is life-long and that it is NEVER too late to go back to school!  On a personal note, I have lived my whole life in Reno Nevada. My husband and I have been together for 20 years, and we have 2 sweet little kids- a 9-year old daughter and a 7-year old son. Some of my life experiences include waitressing in a restaurant, owning a record store, traveling through Europe with a back-pack, and singing in a band.

  • Mary S

    Mary Smith, Testing Coordinator

    I am a testing coordinator for RISE.  I oversee HSE testing and help with HSPE testing. I received my Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA. I have worked with adults in agency programs, such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Job Opportunities in Nevada.  I started giving the GED in 2002.  In 2014, we started transitioning to the paper-based HiSET testing and this fall (2015) we will add computer-based HiSET testing. I like working at RISE because as a staff, everyone is committed to doing the best job possible for our scholars.  The staff looks at all possibilities to help scholars reach their goals—including online classes, classroom classes, HSE.



  • CiarraCiarra Proulx, ELL Coordinator


    Greetings! I am the ELL Coordinator at RISE Academy, as well as an English language instructor. I earned BA degrees in Anthropology and   Linguistics from UNR and an MA-TESL degree from Northern Arizona University. I had the pleasure of serving two years in the U.S. Peace Corps   in Mongolia and have also lived in China briefly. My passions revolve around teaching and learning both language and culture. RISE is an   amazing place to work because our students are here for personal enrichment, empowerment, and growth. Such tenacity and grit are a true   inspiration for our community.



  • Alison Simcox, School Nurse

    I am the school nurse for RISE.  I have been a nurse for 30 years and a school nurse for 11 years.  I’ve lived in Reno most of my life, and I graduated from Orvis School of Nursing at UNR. I love being a school nurse, and I really like working at RISE because I get to help students access our community resources for healthcare.  Have a great school year! 

  • Ian Moline, ED Tech Specialist

    The position I hold at RISE as custodian entails a variety of different things, some of which range from standard cleaning and general upkeep of classrooms and office spaces to fixing broken things and even doing a little office aid work… this is of course due to RISE's versatility and flexibility when it comes to my job description.  My educational background would be only the completion of 11th grade had it not been for RISE offering the program it does, which has in effect allowed me to procure the title of  “High School Diploma.” I am now a fully accredited High School graduate and current employee thanks to RISE. The staff here is incredible, everyone including the principal, dean, teachers, counselors, and secretaries. I have never liked going to work as much as I do now. Secondly, I also like being able to know that I am contributing at least a small part towards helping others succeed in what I once thought myself was unachievable…a “High School Diploma!”

  • Yerania AYerania Alvarez, Instructor

    Greetings! I am an Algebra teacher at RISE Academy. I earned a BS in education at UNR and have taught in Washoe County for three years. I have taught math and EL courses in the district, at TMCC, and previously at RISE. I am glad to be back at RISE while I complete my master’s degree. I am excited to share my experiences with math and help students feel successful!

  • Shelly Bergam, Instructor

    I teach in the English Language Learner (ELL) program at Rise. I currently teach Low Level English, but have also taught the Advanced Level classes at RISE. My educational background consists of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work with a double major in Spanish from Brigham Young University. As a postgraduate I received a teaching certificate in Secondary Ed. I also received an ESL endorsement from the state of Nevada. I began teaching Adult Ed ELL in 2006 for Washoe High Adult Program. I have taught Low Level, Low Intermediate Level, High Intermediate, and Advanced Levels of ELL while employed by Washoe High Adult. During this time I also taught Adult Ed and ELL at Northern Nevada Literacy Council for two years. I enjoy teaching adults because of the unique life experiences that each student brings, as well as their desire to learn. I especially enjoy working at Rise because of the committed, helpful, competent, and friendly staff. 

  • Michelle Michelle Berry, CASA Coordinator & Instructor

    I teach High School Equivalency Preparation classes and Mathematics classes (Algebra 1, Geometry, & Algebra 2) at RISE Academy. I earned my Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Nevada, Reno. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University and a Master of Arts in Foreign Language. I am licensed in the state of Nevada to teach Alternative Education, French, Spanish, and TESL. I’m proud to have been teaching at RISE since its inception in the fall of 2014, and feel that RISE promotes an engaging and stimulating learning environment that makes teaching and learning an amazing experience.

  • Liz C Liz Carter, Instructor


    Hi.  I am excited to begin my work at RISE for the 18-19 school year.  I will be teaching EL to adult students for the first time!   It has always been my passion to facilitate learning to all students regardless of age or background.  I have had the fortunate experience throughout my career to work with children as young as three years old to seniors in high school.  I am excited to work with adults who desire to complete their education and learn skills that aid in their success.

  • Samantha Ham, Instructor

    I teach a Level 1 ELL course at RISE.I received my BS in Spanish Education and TESL from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). This is my 6th year teaching and my 3rd year with WCSD. I work with English Learners at 2 schools—Pine Middle School and Shaw Middle School. I have lived in 5 states—Kentucky, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and now Nevada for 3 years. My family consists of me, my husband Kelly, and our two cats who we affectionately call Kitty and Mouse. We love spending time in the mountains hiking, camping, and backpacking. I also love to travel, learn new languages, and encounter new cultures. I want to learn Levantine Arabic next! I have a passion to advocate for and empower English Learners with the linguistic and intercultural skills they need to fully contribute the many and varied gifts they bring to our community

  • Courtney H

    Courtney Hansen, Instructor

    Hello! My name is Courtney Hansen. I graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2015, with my BA in Secondary Education; I am currently enrolled at the University, pursuing my MEd in Special Education. I am licensed to teach English to grades 8-12 and English as a Second Language to grades k-12; I am working towards licensure in Special Education. I spend my days as a resource teacher at Dilworth STEM Academy, co-teaching 8th grade English. I am the proud mom of a golden retriever and love to spend my free time with her; whether we're swimming, camping, or paddle boarding, we’re happiest outside. I am so excited to begin teaching adult education and to start this journey with RISE! 


  • Malake I Malake Itani, Instructor

    I am Malake Itani. I have a Bachelor in Science in Civil engineering from Beirut, Lebanon. I moved to the United States in 1987 while my husband was completing his PhD in Ann Arbor, MI. I earned my M Ed. in secondary education from UNR. I am licensed to teach Math and Science in the state of WCSD, I taught 14 years at Pine Middle School and at North Valleys High School. I taught Prob/Stats, Algebra II, Geometry, and General Science.  In 2014, I had some health concerns, so I contemplated retirement in order to take care of my health. Ultimately, resigned from being a full time employee at WCSD. After, all concerns went away, I am missing teaching and am finding that it is too early to retire. Currently, I am teaching couple of courses at RISE Academy. I am so proud to be part of the wonderful and resourceful educators at RISE. The students are eager to learn and very enthusiastic. I am thankful for this opportunity and ready to give all that I have to help our students and provide them with the needed knowledge in Math or Science in order for them to prosper in life.

  • Sam  Sam O'Brien, Instructor

    I teach US History at RISE, and this is my first quarter. I have taught adults in the college setting, as well as teaching a couple short sections of NV History for NHP Cadets. I hold a Bachelor's in English Language Arts from UNR, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Sierra Nevada College. I am currently working on a Masters of Education at Sierra Nevada College. Working with adult students at RISE has been a wonderful experience. The students work extremely hard, and are attentive, which inspires me to go above and beyond in the classroom to meet their needs.

  • Dawn A

    Bernice Servilican, Instructor

    Hello! My name is Bernice Servilican.  I taught in Washoe County School District for thirty years before retiring in the spring of 2017.  I taught English at Billinghurst Middle School, McQueen High School, Spanish Springs High School, and ended my regular teaching career at Damonte Ranch High School where I taught AP Language and Composition and senior English for fourteen years.  I have a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Secondary English Teaching and a Masters in Secondary Education with an Emphasis on Secondary Reading.  I'm also a National Board Certified Teacher.  I am excited about this opportunity to return to the classroom and work with adult learners who are striving to continue their education and succeed in the world of work.  I love to hike, run, and be active.  I also love taking cooking classes and, of course, reading and writing!





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