Meet our 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!


     

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    IvetteIvette Jara Gonzalez, Admin. Assistant/Bookkeeper

    ¡Hola! I've been at RISE Academy for a few years & they've been the best! I have worked all shifts with RISE but I am currently working in the morning. I love being part of a team that works hard to help students succeed. I'm pursuing my education to someday be a school counselor & continue helping students in any way that I can. I believe we have the best students who continue to inspire me & motivate me every day!

    I'm mom to a beautiful baby boy, Thiago, and a proud dog mom to the cutest boxer, Canelo. My family & I love to be outside! Whether it's hiking, exploring, trying new food spots or going for walks.


     

  • Shannon Q Shannon Quinn, Counselor

     
    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!
  • 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 7th 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.
     
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    ChelseaChelsea Lee, Registrar

     
    Hello! I am the Registrar here at Rise Academy. I started my journeys in Big Bear, CA then moved to Incline Village, NV where I earned my BA in Psychology with a minor in music at Sierra Nevada College. Afterwards, I moved to Breckenridge, CO, then to Taos, NM, and finally, after a few years of living the life of a ski bum, came back to Northern Nevada where I have settled down in Reno. I am currently working on my ME in School Counseling through Grand Canyon University and when I’m not working or studying, I am hiking with my pups, Roo and Jasmine, or on a road trip with my sister.  

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    IanIan Moline, Ed. Tech Specialist

     
    The position I hold at Rise Academy as "Ed. Tech. Specialist" entails a myriad of different tasks, some of which range from managing device updates to troubleshooting software, printers, iPads, PC’s, smartboards and the like. . .Our staff here is incredible, everyone including, administrators, teachers, counselors, and front office personnel. I have never enjoyed going to work as much as I do now. I love knowing that I am contributing towards helping others succeed in procuring their “High School Diploma!
  • Norma

    Norma Martinez, Program Liason

    I went to TMCC and Morrison University for 4 years to do business administration to be able to run my own books for my own business NNSS. I worked at Vaughn MS for about 7 yrs. as an TA and as the Face Liaison, and now I am at RISE as the evening secretary. I enjoy working for RISE so much, the staff and the admin are just amazing people to work with. Everyone’s dedication and hard work has made the learning environment an amazing experience. Our teachers are so passionate about teaching and making sure our student's goals are fulfilled. It is very rewarding to be part of our student's accomplishments, whether it be receiving their adult diploma, their HISET or the ELL program!!


     

  • Michelle Michelle Berry, Ed Ready Coordinator/ Math Instructor

     
    I teach High School Equivalency Preparation classes and Mathematics classes 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.

     
  • Samantha

    Samantha Kaelin, Instructor

    I teach our Basic/Intro Level ELL course, HSE Literacy courses, and diploma English courses at RISE throughout the year. I received my BS in Spanish Education and TESL from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). The 2021/2022 school year is my 10th year teaching. I have lived in 5 states—Kentucky, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and now Nevada for 7 years. My two cats are affectionately called Kitty and Copper. Spending time in the mountains hiking, camping, and backpacking feeds my soul. I also love to travel, learn new languages, and encounter new cultures. I love the classroom because I have a passion for facilitating spaces that nourish human potential and connection.


     

  • Courtney H

    Courtney Johnston, Instructor

    Hello! My name is Courtney Johnston. 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!


     

  •  JanJan Lenz, Instructor

    Greetings! I graduated from Briar Cliff University, in Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and a second major in Secondary Education in 2010. Then I earned a Master of Science in Education from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2014. I have taught in schools where I have had two different math classes at a time to schools where I have taught seven different math classes at a time; all ranging from 6th grade math to Calculus and Physics. I have three children that I enjoy spending time with. I look forward to teaching at RISE and helping people to be one step closer to their dream.


     

  • 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.
  • 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.


     

  • Dawn A

    Heidi Warren, Instructor

    I have just finished my 16th year of teaching in Washoe County and have worked part-time for Rise for the past two years as an EL teacher. Now I have the privilege to be a full-time Reading Instructor for Rise during the 21-22 school year. I have lived in Reno for 33 years and, my husband of almost 30 years, was born and raised here as were our two sons, we love this community! I hold a Bachelor’s in Education and a Master’s in Literacy from UNR. I didn’t finish college until I was 38 years old, so I have the utmost respect for the perseverance adult learners must have and am so looking forward to helping Rise students to meet their goals. I love working at Rise because of the kind, compassionate and amazing people that I get to work with, staff and students alike.


     

  •   Angela Verry, Instructor

     
    I will teach Math at RISE in the evenings. I am excited to start this new venture in 2022. I have previously taught math and civics classes at TMCC in their Adult Basic Education program (from 2018-2021), and I teach 5th grade for WCSD during the day. Overall, I have been teaching since 2015. I absolutely love teaching and cannot wait to help you understand more to reach your goals.
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Tony Tony Filicchia, Instructor

     
    I am a math teacher at RISE Academy. I mainly teach HSPE prep classes but I have also taught Algebra. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of New England, in Biddeford, Maine. This is my fourth year teaching HSPE prep as an adult educator and I love teaching at RISE because I am able to help change the courses of many of my students' lives. I enjoy how motivated the students are, and how confident they are in their math skills as they leave my class. 
     
     
     
     
     

     
  • 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!

     
     

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