The Nevada Collaboratory
I am a 5 th grade teacher at Wendell P. Williams Elementary School. I have been working with children and adults, as an educator, for more than 40 years. The philosophy, in my classroom is “COLLEGE IS POSSIBLE!” My classroom reflects the “College Culture,” in everything they see and do. Prior to our campus becoming an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) school, my students were already being exposed to a focused College and Career Readiness curriculum. Wearing a different college t-shirt on Fridays, as well as giving my students college t-shirts (from various colleges), has prompted the entire staff to promote their perspective colleges, with a “College Colors Day”, every last day of the month. As a result, of my representing my “College Spirit,” I was a CCSD “Heart of Education Award” semi-finalist, this past school year. I’m looking forward to interacting with teachers again, as well as increase and renew their commitment, to forming “Tomorrow’s Future College Grads” and leaders. I’ve been married for 36 years, have 3 children (working on PhD’s) and 8 grandchildren (all under 10), who are being directed to also pursue college (and beyond) someday.
Erik Smith is a Brain Based Learning Specialist who has been teaching professionally since 2003. After obtaining his Master's in Education from UNLV in 2004, he began acquiring expertise in cooperative learning from the Kagan Publishing and Professional Learning company, as well as obtaining a certification in Brain Based Learning from the Jensen Learning corporation in 2011. Most recently, he became a National Board Certified teacher 2014. Along the way, he has trained teachers in both domains, as well as conducted trainings in incorporating music into the classroom, teaching students coming from poverty, and engagement strategies. At present, he teaches fifth grade at Dooley Elementary school and looks forward to conducting additional engagement and cooperative learning trainings to staff members.
Karen Kanwhen has been part of Clark County School District since 2010. She works as an Intermediate Autism at Nate Mack Elementary School . She earned her Bachelors degree at Baylor University and worked in Behavioral Health Care. She earned a Masters degree at UNLV in Special Education.
LaToya Nicole Webb was born in Compton, California but was raised in Columbus, Georgia. LaToya moved to Las Vegas in 2014 and started working for CCSD. She worked on the collegiate level for 3 years before teaching in elementary. She currently teaches 3rd grade and is the grade level chair. She is also the ELL Student Success Advocate for her school. She earned her Bachelor and Masters of Science in Elementary Education from Troy University. Her favorite motto is “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. We are all learners, doers, and teachers!”
Merrick M. Murray
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Merrick has been with CCSD since 2013. He has been educating and changing lives since 2001, and currently teaches 2 nd grade. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University, a Master of Science in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University, and a Master of Art in School Leadership from Concordia University Chicago. He operates under the ideals that to effectively teach a child, one must first know the child. Teachers must connect with students and meet them where they are to guide them to the next level.
Robyn Covey is a near-native of Las Vegas, having moved here at age 11 and remained here ever since. She received her BA in Spanish, her MS in Elementary Education with a TESL emphasis, and most recently, completed her Administrative Licensure. She has taught for Clark County School District for 19 years, having taught bilingual 1st grade, ESL 3rd grade, and worked as an ELL Facilitator and new teacher mentor for several years in between. In addition to teaching in the district, Ms. Covey has also been an adjunct professor for Nova Southeastern University, Sierra Nevada College, Nevada State College, and UNLV teaching TESL courses.