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

    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.
  • IAN Ian 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 toward helping others succeed in procuring their “High School Diploma!”

  • 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 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 KSamantha Kaelin, Instructor

    Contact Me
    I teach Basic/Level 1 ELL, an HSE Literacy course, and diploma English courses at RISE throughout the year. I received my BS in Spanish Education and TESL from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) and I am currently in graduate school studying Human Rights Education. This is my 10th year teaching. I have lived in 5 states—Kentucky, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and now Nevada for 6 years. I have two cats whom I affectionately call Kitty and Copper. I love spending time in the mountains hiking, camping, and backpacking. I also love to travel, learn new languages, and encounter new cultures. 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 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.


  • 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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