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. 

  • 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 (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.

  • 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

  • KyKy Plaskon, Instructor

    I started my teaching career at RISE, I really enjoy connecting with the students and catering to different learning styles. With 20 years of experience in media (TV, Radio, Print, Author), I try to make learning entertaining and fun. Damonte Ranch High School and Hug High are two places I have taught computers, web design, and job skills. I also started the Reno Youth Radio program for the Washoe County School District and Career and Technical Education. I am currently an Education Information Officer with the State of Nevada. In my free time, I ski, kayak, swim, run and bike with my two wonderful daughters.

  • 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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