Rob Blackwell has worked with children for more than 15 years. He has mentored, counseled, taught and served as a positive role model to children in both public and private education. For the past three years he has served as the Dean of Students, supervised faculty and co-managed the Math curriculum at the Adelson Educational Campus. His goals are to continue to foster positive relationships between students, parents and teachers, create an exciting and challenging learning environment and help students develop confidence and maximize individual potential. Mr. Blackwell earned his BA in Sociology from St. Bonaventure University, and his MA in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix. Mr. Blackwell and his wife have 5 children. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, golfing, and spending time with family.
Laura Bruni graduated from California State Polytechnic, Pomona with a BA in Architecture and a minor in Philosophy. She also recently received her Master in Elementary Education. Ms. Bruni has a California Teaching Credential along with special certification to teach English as a second language. She was a teacher for 11 years in California, as well as a literacy coach where she helped train and support teachers in implanting the literacy program. Her training includes two-years of early literacy training through LAUSD, participant in the UCLA literacy project, LAUSD training in literacy for readers and attended the California Governor’s Literacy Institute. Ms. Bruni was a state presenter at the California Kindergarten Conference where she presented material that promoted literacy across the curriculum. She was selected as a lead teacher to promote effective instructional strategies as part of a special program through USC. She also received extensive training in Writer’s Workshop to effectively promote writing in elementary schools when her school received the largest Annenberg Grant ever given to one school.
Thom Culcasi has been a musical director, voice teacher and singer/actor for over twenty years all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. As a musical director and conductor, Thom has worked for the Rubicon Theatre Educational Outreach and Youth Program in Ventura, California, as well as various Las Vegas projects including; musical director for The Buddy Holly Story for Super Summer Theatre and conductor for the production of COMPANY for the Nevada Conservatory Theater. Mr. Culcasi was a teaching fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for Creative Youth in the music and theater programs. He graduated from The Boston Conservatory and its sister schools The New England Conservatory and Emerson College.
Lauren Eisenberg completed a BA degree, double majoring in English and Jewish Studies, in Durban, South Africa and then made aliya. She obtained her teaching certificate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught high-school English. Lauren then studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara and gained her masters degree in English Administration. She is passionate about Jewish Education, and for the last 30 years has worked as an educator, administrator, programmer and fund raiser. Currently, Lauren teaches adult education classes for Congregation Ner Tamid and is also the facilitator for the Hadassah Leadership Academy.
In addition to coordinating the science curriculum for both the lower and middle schools, Pat Gaido also teaches science for grades 6 & 8. These courses include introductory physics, introductory each science, introductory biology and introductory chemistry. Ms. Gaido’s joined the school in 1999. She came to us from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was an undergraduate academic advisor for the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. She graduated cum laude from West Virginia University earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, with a specialization in biology and general science.
Ben was born and raised in Central Illinois where he attended and graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Leadership Studies. He moved to Las Vegas in 2010 to teach middle school English in the Clark Country School District as a Corps Member of Teach For America - Las Vegas Valley. During the past two years he attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and graduated with his Master of Education in Curriculum and Development with an endorsement for teaching English as a second language. When he is not teaching or working in the field of education reform, Ben loves reading, writing, hiking, boating, running, and Bikram yoga. This fall he looks forward to presenting work from his graduate studies at the annual conference for the National Council of Teachers of English hosted in Las Vegas.
Ms. Koehler comes to Las Vegas by way of Ohio, where she was a middle school 8th grade science teacher. She received her BA in Education with a concentration on Middle Childhood Education Science and Language Arts from The University of Toledo. She loves the water and has certifications from the American Red Cross for lifeguard training, first aid, and CPR/AED for the professional rescuer.
Terri Leitner is a rare native of Nevada and proud parent of a graduate of the first class of The Adelson Upper School. Prior to joining us, Mrs. Leitner was involved in customer service positions, property management, database management and operations management. She is the mother of four, and a grandmother of three.
Orly Maayan has been with the former Hebrew Academy/Adelson Campus since 2005 as a Hebrew teacher. She brings love and passion about Israel and its official language to our lower school students. Ms. Maayan enriches our Hebrew programs with multi-media and hands-on learning. Born in the southern city of Eilat by the Red Sea, Ms. Maayan holds a masters degree in the science of metaphysics from the University of Sedona, Arizona, and a bachelors degree from University of Lexington. She is also a member of the ATA (American Translators Association) and a Reiki Master. She has two amazing children in Las Vegas, two dogs and a cat.
Ira Madnikoff earned a bachelor’s in criminology at the University of Florida and his juris doctorate from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, and soon thereafter decided to follow in his father's footsteps by becoming an educator. From the first time he stepped into the classroom, Mr. Madnikoff knew instinctively that he could marshal his experience in many different educational settings toward his goal of becoming a phenomenal teacher. He taught high school social studies in Miami, Florida, for four years, garnering a breadth of experience that included teaching honors and advanced placement (AP) courses, U.S. and world history, government, economics and human geography.
Robin earned her MS in Elementary Education from Hunter College in New York, and her BA in English from SUNY, New York. She has taught elementary-aged children in New York and California, and is herself, the mother of two young children. She is also an entrepreneur, having founded Evolve With Yoga, a yoga studio in New York. Ms. Oshins moved to Las Vegas to once again teach young children.
Some people believe that education is merely teaching curriculum, but Trish Pedrick would disagree. Ms. Pedrick cautions that educators must reach children as well as teach them. The wisdom of that philosophy is reflected in her successful career, devoted to independent school education and middle school students. She brings a wealth of experience not only in teaching mathematics, curriculum analysis and mapping, but also in developing mathematics curriculum, and determining and implementing age-appropriate content. Through praise and support, she motivates students to become confident in their ability, to be curious and question, to value mathematics, as well as to become problem solvers, think critically and reason. Ms. Pedrick completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and educational curricula at the University of Delaware and did advanced studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She taught in northern Delaware and Miami before moving to Las Vegas to join our faculty in 2007.
Robin Pence comes to The Adelson Educational Campus as a Jewish Studies and Technology teacher. Robin has a BS in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University and Teacher Licensure in K-8 Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. Previous to working at the Adelson Campus, she taught for 10 years as a Jewish Educator and Technology Integration Specialist/Coordinator at Solomon Schechter Day School of Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to foster a love of Torah, Jewish History, and learning, as well as inspire students and teachers through innovative use of technology across the curriculum. She has had 13 plus years experience working with students and educators to integrate technology into their classrooms. Robin is the recipient of a Technology Innovation grant for a video conferencing project with students in Israel, as well as a Target Literacy grant for use of iPod Touches to encourage cooperative learning and inspire a greater love of learning among students and families.
Warren Peterson grew up in southern Mississippi. She received her B.A. in English from Brigham Young University and her M.A. in teaching from Sierra Nevada College. She taught seventh grade English for Clark County School District for several years before making the move The Adelson Educational Campus. In her spare time she enjoys reading and cooking.
David Philippus was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. Because of his strong music programs in middle and high school, Mr. Philippus has carved out an exciting and successful path for himself in music and education. Music has allowed him to travel the world and has introduced him to unique experiences. At an early age Mr. Philippus was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Grammy Band in New York City where he learned to love Big Band Jazz and to love New York City. After earning his bachelors in Jazz Performance at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on the trombone, he followed his passion for performing to New York City where he freelanced in salsa bands and jazz clubs, and played on Broadway in the orchestra pit for Hairspray. He also toured the east coast with the Artie Shaw Band. After finishing his masters in Jazz Performance from the State University of New York at Purchase, Philippus took a job in Japan for a year, playing in a wide variety of ensembles. Upon returning to the states, Philippus decided to return to Las Vegas where he played with Alicia Keys, Natalie Cole, Michel Legrand, Neil Sedaka, Frankie Vallie, The OJ's, Michael Grimm (winner of America's Got Talent), and many more. He also performed with Phantom of the Opera the Las Vegas Spectacular, The Producers, Legends in Concert, Spamalot, Donny and Marie, and is currently playing at The Lion King Las Vegas. His love for music and education has brought him here to the Adelson School where he hopes to build the same kind of inspiring band program that has motivated his career.
Vanessa Reolegio earned both bachelor and masters degrees in mathematics while living in the Philippines. Prior to relocating to the United States, Vanessa taught many different levels of math at two different private schools in the Philippines. In addition, she has worked individually with many foreign students as a mathematics tutor; this work has helped her develop the insight and skills necessary to assist all students to learn math.
Tami Sal grew up in Israel and earned her B.Ed at Beit Berl College. She specializes in two courses; the Hebrew language and Judaics. Tami has more than fourteen years of teaching experience. She taught 1st to 6th grade general studies and Hebrew to new immigrants in Israel. She has also taught Hebrew as a second language to lower and middle school students in Israel, Florida and Arizona. At Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, she was trained to teach the NETA Program; and at Pardes Community School in Phoenix, she was trained to teach the Tal Am Program. Tami is excited to join our community, and she's quite pleased that her children will be joining her at The Adelson Educational Campus.
Courtney Schorr grew up here in Las Vegas. She received her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts/Film Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. After a short three-year stint working in Hollywood, Miss Schorr moved to New York to get her masters in education from Bank Street College and to pursue her calling which is working with children. Miss Schorr has taught at independent schools in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, and she is thrilled to be teaching closer to her friends and family out west.
An accomplished Jewish musician, Joel Swedlove has served as the Head Songleader for camps and synagogues throughout the United States. Having performed and studied with some of the biggest names in Jewish Music, Joel provides the Adelson School with a unique voice and personality. While studying Film at Arizona State University, Joel found that his true passion was in Jewish Music, and teaching children that they are able to express their culture through music. Joel brings an energy to all of the classrooms, during Shabbat, and the various Holiday shows throughout the year. Joel is constantly working to ensure that the students at the Adelson School not only have a knowledge of the rich history of Jewish music, but also are learning about contemporary Judaic and Israeli Music. He looks forward to singing with the wonderful Adelson students for years to come.
Carami Van Wie joins the Adelson Educational Campus with a background in special education and field research. Working as a Special Education Facilitator, she maintained ongoing support to general education teachers for students with exceptional needs. She is also known to build a strong rapport with students and take interest in their individual success. Carami was chosen in 2010 to be the key speaker for the College of Education Awards Reception at University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she earned her Masters of Education in Special Education. She is also a member of the Council for Exceptional Children. Prior to moving in into education, Carami co-owned a marketing company which focused on event and experiential marketing. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Communications with a Minor in Marketing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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