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!



    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!


  • MariaMaria Franco Herrera, Admin. Assistant

    Hello! My name is María, I have worked with the district for about 5 years, but this is my first at RISE. I have my associates from TMCC in Early Childhood Education, where I transferred over to UNR & receiving my BA in psychology with Emphasis in Behavior Analysis. I have traveled to 7 different countries and have been fortunate to see different educational philosophies around the world. I believe here at RISE, we offer one, if not the best, adult education in Nevada. We work to inspire and empower our community of all different backgrounds every day!  

  • 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!
  • Sandra Casey, Counselor

    While living in Southern California, I earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and after moving to Reno, I earned my master’s in counseling and educational psychology. I like learning and challenging myself, so I hold board certifications in counseling and school counseling. I was honored to serve in many positions including president in the Greater NV School Counseling Association. Before beginning my career with WCSD, I worked at TMCC which sparked my interest in adult education. I owned and operated Positive Steps, a family education program. While working for the school district, I have been at Dilworth MS, McQueen HS, NorthStar Online School, and Turning Point k-12 School. I have worked part time at RISE Adult Academy for several years and I’m happy to now be at Rise full time. I love meeting adults who want to advance their education, broaden their opportunities, and discover their strengths. When I’m not at work, I hang out with my kids, grandkids, and dog. I also have great life-long friendships that keep me busy and happy.

  • 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.

    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.  


    IanIan Moline, Ed. Tech. Spc.

    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,

    SPED Case Mgr./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.

  • 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.


  •  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 and American Government at RISE. 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

    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.


  • Dawn A

    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.


  • Matt Herald, Instructor

     I was born and raised in Reno/Sparks, Nevada. I graduated from Reed High School in 2000. I earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Spanish from UNR, and I also earned my secondary education teaching license at the same time. Later, I earned a master’s degree in Spanish Literature from UNR and then a master’s degree in School Administration from SUU. I’m certified to teach math, Spanish, EL and GT at the secondary level as well as serve as an administrator. I’ve taught middle school math, high school math, adult education math, middle school Spanish, high school Spanish and high school EL. Presently, I teach high school Spanish at Reed. My two favorite hobbies are running and playing chess and I do each one every day. I’m married, and my wife and I have two children, Itzaé and Yaretzi, who are in elementary school. 

  • Tim Woodside, Instructor

    Hello RISE students.  My name is Tim Woodside, I am excited to be an instructor at RISE.  I have been teaching for many years at a few different schools in Reno, Nevada.  I have taught all levels of Secondary Math Education at each of these schools.  I enjoy traveling and  spending time outdoors with my family.  I also enjoy watching Formula 1 racing and the San Francisco Giants.  Math is a wonderful subject, I look forward to helping RISE students continue their path towards the next step in life!  As someone once said, “It’s all fun and games until someone divides by zero.”

  • Cadence Reed, Instructor

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    Cadence graduated from CalPoly Humboldt with a B.A. in Spanish after completing a year-long study abroad program at the University of Barcelona in Spain. She has taught English as a foreign language in Spain to preschoolers, adolescents, and adults. She also taught Spanish at  private ski academies in both Vermont and California. Cadence has lived in Reno for 12+ years and moved into public education after earning her  Master’s in Secondary Education from UNR. She has worked for charter schools teaching English as a Second Language to students grades K-9  in Reno and also taught K-4 Phonics and guided reading instruction for struggling readers. She has ten years of classroom experience and most  recently taught high school Spanish in Carson City. 

    Cadence also works in healthcare as a Spanish medical interpreter at Renown. In her free time, Cadence enjoys socializing, spending time with her dog, speaking Spanish, adventure travel, creating 3-D art, mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, backpacking, rollerskating, practicing yoga, writing poetry, gardening, and cooking.


  • Abby Nelle Gama, Instructor

    Hello! I grew up here in Reno, and then moved to Eugene, Oregon, where I attended the University of Oregon and received my Bachelor’s degree.  After a few years, I returned to Reno to attend the University of Nevada and take graduate classes for a License to teach Elementary Education. I have been teaching kids since 2006, and I have been teaching adults since 2017. I finished my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2021. I have two kids and two cats. I look forward to teaching and learning with you.
  • Greg Nielson, Instructor

    I appreciate being an instructor at RISE. For me, teaching is a true calling. I earned a doctorate in education from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) with an emphasis on curriculum design and video as a teaching tool. I have taught at UNR, TMCC, Sparks High and Wooster. One of my students gave me the nickname “Dr. G.” and it stuck. I studied Spanish in Costa Rica and Spain and continue learning by meeting with my Spanish conversation partner once a week. I thoroughly love living in Northern Nevada. I enjoy the outdoors, writing, friends, family, and exercise.


  • 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!

  • Janet, School Nurse

    Bio Coming