Mr. Bodensteiner-7th and 8th Grade Social Studies
Ms. Commons-6th Grade ELA and Social Studies
Hi, my name is Nicole Commons, and I am teaching 6th grade Magnet ELA and Social Studies. This is my second year at Swope. I have a master’s degree in education and my AMS Montessori credential. For nine years I taught at a public Montessori school in a 1st ,2nd, 3rdgrade mix classroom, and for 3 years I taught in a SWAS 5th/6th grade classroom. Once the SWAS program at Gomm was relocated I wanted to continue with 6th grade and found a wonderful team to work with right down the street! I do my best to create a welcoming and inviting classroom where all students feel they are heard and are comfortable learning. Personally, I have 3 kids in High School, two at Reno High and one at Davidson. I have 7 chickens, 1 dog, 1 cat, and 2 tortoises. I enjoy gardening, hiking, and skiing in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. I am a fierce supporter of our Gifted and Talented Kiddos. I look forward to working with you to help your student be successful in Middle School.
Mrs. Hoy-8th Grade ELA and GT Challenges, Swope GT Magnet Co-Lead
I started my professional life with a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. After several years spent in the business world, I discovered my true passion and mission in life was to be the teacher I wanted my children to have, and earned my teaching credentials through the Sierra Nevada College Teacher Certification Program in 2001. I earned my GT endorsement in 2009 and joined the Magnet program during its inaugural year (2011) after having taught English at Vaughn MS for ten years. As a third-generation educator, I’m continually working toward my goal of being ‘the toughest middle school teacher ever’ by joining the Northern Nevada Writing Project, winning a few teaching awards, serving on various educational advisory councils, and running a marathon all in the spirit of engaging students in the joys of the written and spoken word. In 2022, I earned my National Board Certification in the teaching of Gifted Students. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, taking photos of my animals, traveling to exotic places, playing golf, and working out.
Mrs. HIlliard-Algebra I, Integrated I & II, Swope GT Magnet Co-Lead
Hello Swope families! My name is Kelly Hilliard. I am a Michigan Wolverine and am excited to be a Swope Panther as well! My education background is as follows: I completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, I completed my master’s at Sierra Nevada College and this past year I earned my National Boards Certification in mathematics. I have taught high school for over 20 years and I am excited about teaching in the Swope magnet. I really enjoy mathematics and all of the patterns that we sometimes see and sometimes miss in the real world! For my life and hobbies – I walk my doggies, read about school and (other stuff!), and enjoy being outdoors and crafting. I have a wonderful family! My husband teaches high school English at McQueen, and both of my children participated in the SWAS and magnet programs and now attend college in Colorado and Oregon.
Mrs. Little-7th Grade ELA and GTC
Hi! My name is Rachel Little, and this will be my fifth year as a GT Teacher at Swope Middle School. I have experience teaching Creative Writing, 6th grade GT Challenges and 7th Grade ELA at Swope MS and was previously a GT itinerant at various schools. I received my degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English at the University of Nevada, Reno and have earned my GT endorsement. I have been working in the Washoe County School District for the past five years. I have chosen to stay within the GT community because I enjoy working with students who think abstractly and have a wide range of interests. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, travelling, and spending time with my family.
Mrs. Matilainen-6th Grade GT Science; Leadership Advisor
Hello! My name is Jennifer Matilainen. I will be teaching 6th Grade GT Science, 6th Grade Science and 7th/8th Grade Student Leadership this year. This will be my fifth year at Swope and sixth year with WCSD. Before I taught in Reno, I taught in downtown San Jose for seven years, four years with an International Baccalaureate elementary school. I graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Communicative Disorders and Science and received my teaching credentials from Cal State Monterey Bay. During the summer of 2020, I earned my GT endorsement and joined the Swope GT Magnet crew. Currently, I am pursuing my Master of Education in STEM Education at the University of Nevada, Reno with a graduating date of May of 2024. During my Master's studies at UNR, I was a part of the intense RET program for Cybersecurity in the summer of 2022. In my down time, I am spending time with my family; relaxing, camping and dreaming of our travels in the summer of 2024. Looking forward to another year in the Swope GT program!
Mrs. Randall-6th Grade Math and GTC
My name is Cindi Randall. I am teaching Accelerated Math 6, GT Challenges, and Math 6. This is my 4th year teaching math at Swope MS. I have a master's degree in mathematics education. I have taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, Integrated I, Integrated II, Algebra II, and adult education at WNC. I love to learn about new and engaging ways to teach math! I was selected to be part of the Rosenthal Summer Institute in New York this summer and am so excited to implement these hands-on lessons with your kids this year.
My husband and I have two adult children who were both in the GT program in Carson City. We are fortunate they are both living in Reno, so we can spend time together. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, running, paddle boarding at the lake, watching plays and musicals, and reading.
Ms. Renner-7th and 8th Grade Science
Hello Swope students and families! My name is Catharine Renner and I am originally from Grass Valley, CA. This is my first year teaching at Swope and my first year teaching! I received my bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis in Nutrition Science in 2022. I then completed my science teaching credential from UC Davis in June 2023. This past year, I student-taught high school chemistry and 7th-grade science for a whole year. I loved the energy and the excitement that my 7th graders had, which attracted me to wanting to teach middle school. I have a lot of background in education and teaching science and agriculture in the classroom through my experiences in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H. Some other interests of mine include taking care of and riding my horse, named Skippy. I also love to snow ski, water ski, and help out with ranch work. I am very excited to join the Reno and Swope school communities this year! I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the classroom every day and I feel it is very important to build strong connections with each and every one of my students. So let’s have a great year!