1st Grade Team
Hello Vassiliadis students and families! My name is Beth Prior. It has been an exciting, inaugural year at Vassiliadis working with our families and staff! I have been teaching 26 years now, 21 of those here in the Clark County School District since 1997, when I moved to Las Vegas from Dayton, Ohio (Go Buckeyes!). I have taught primarily first grade but have also taught second grade and middle school English. I earned my Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education and my Masters of Science degree in Literacy from the University of Dayton. Additionally, I became Nationally Board certified in 2007 and completed my Renewal in 2016.
My husband Sean and I have been married for 21 years, and we have an 11 year old daughter Olivia who will be in 6th grade at Sig Rogich this coming year. We also have a four-legged family member, Avena, a cute little Shorkie that we just adore. We love to travel, hike, camp, and spend time together as a family. Soccer keeps us busy! I enjoy online scrapbooking, exercising, reading, and Pinterest. I have always had a passion for reading and have an expansive literacy collection that I love to share with my students.
I enjoy nurturing children’s love of learning by providing a safe, positive, productive learning environment that meets the needs of every student, and look forward to our adventures together this coming year and making lasting memories.
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” – Marlan Wright Edelman
Hello, my name is Sandy Ohnstad. I can’t wait to begin another exciting year as a member of Team Vassiliadis! I am originally from Texas, but grew up living in both the southern and northern part of New Mexico. That’s right…I am a lover of green chile and all things spicy!! My kitchen is full of decorative chile items and spices. I went back to Texas where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas Tech University and a Master’s Degree in Administration from the University of Phoenix. This will be my 24th year teaching for the Clark County School District and I have taught grades pre-k through 2nd grade. My husband Corey is a Minnesota boy and definitely had to adjust to my spicy cooking. I have 2 beautiful daughters named Kyra and Khloe. I love spending time on the beach and my family and I are often seen traveling and taking vacations!
I have a passion for reading and am obsessed with children’s books. I am always collecting them, so I can provide a wide range of books for my students within our classroom. My favorite children’s author is Chris Van Allsburg. It is my pleasure to be teaching first grade and to inspire young minds to love learning!
Hello! My name is Nancy Slater, and I am so excited to be part of the Vassiliadis First Grade Team! I was born in Vietnam, but came to the United States when I was just two months old. I grew up in Northern Nevada, and I attended the University of Nevada, Reno (Go Wolf Pack!), where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education. After college, I moved to Las Vegas, and I have been teaching for 22 years in 1st and 2nd grades. I spent one year in Denver, Colorado teaching first grade in Cherry Creek School District while my husband was attending grad school. I also received a Master’s Degree in Literacy from Lesley University.
I am married to a wonderful man, Craig, and have three kids that keep us very busy. My oldest, Emma attends high school at Palo, Kennedy attends middle school at Rogich, and my youngest, Brady, is in fourth grade at Vassiliadis. Our “Party of Five” likes to ski, go to the beach, travel, and spend time with our family and friends. When I’m not running my kids to activities, I enjoy shopping, decorating, and watching the Vegas Golden Knights.
Teaching first grade is my favorite, and I’m looking forward to a busy and productive year, filled with exciting learning activities, and much more! I hope to provide a positive and nurturing environment for your child in order to enhance his/ her learning throughout the year! I am so thrilled to be part of Vassiliadis Elementary School, and I can’t wait to start another year with this amazing team!
Hello, my name is Leah McCallum and I am so excited to be joining the Vassiliadis community. I am originally from Minnesota and moved to Las Vegas in 2005. I graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Minor in Special Education. I continued my education at UNLV to earn my Masters in Curriculum Instruction with an emphasis in math. I also recently attended UNLV to earn a reading endorsement. I have taught for 14 years in CCSD. Out of those 14 years, I have taught 7 years in second grade and will be going into my 8th year teaching first grade.
In my free time, I love to spend time with my husband and my two daughters. We like playing games, going to the park, and watching movies. My oldest daughter dances, so I spend a lot of time watching her do what she loves. I love reading picture books to my youngest daughter and watching her learn new things. Right now, I would say my favorite book is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? because my 4-year-old loves to read it to me. When I am not with my family, I enjoy shopping, crafting, and going to dinner with my friends.
My goal for my students is to build a love for learning through collaborating with others. My classroom is a safe and nurturing environment. Students feel comfortable and know that it is okay to make mistakes because they help us learn. I enjoy incorporating songs, dancing, and games while learning. I am looking forward to making school a fun place to learn where every student looks forward to coming each day. I am so excited to meet everyone and have a fabulous year!
Hello Parents and Students! My name is Jeanine Gusmerotti and I am so excited to begin another incredible year at Vassiliadis working with such an amazing staff and community where we inspire our children to learn and strive for their goals.
I grew up in New York where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education at Saint Joseph's College. I moved to Las Vegas in 2000 where I earned my Master's Degree at Lesley University. I have always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was five years old, pretending my teddy bears and dolls were my students. I have been teaching for 23 years and have loved every moment! I originally started teaching in New York as a Full Day Kindergarten teacher. After three years, I married my wonderful husband Greg Gusmerotti (who is also a teacher at Vassiliadis) and moved to Las Vegas where I continued to follow my passion for teaching. After teaching kindergarten for eight years I finally decided to give first grade a try and absolutely loved it!
I enjoy going to the movies, reading, drawing, playing board games, and bike rides, but most of all I love being a mom to my amazing children. My daughter Isabella is twelve years old and will be entering seventh grade and my son Trevor is ten years old and will be entering fifth grade.
I am looking forward to another wonderful year at Vassiliadis. I feel children learn best by making learning fun while providing a safe and nurturing environment. Through the use of educational games, songs, working with groups/partners, hands on activities, and building relationships with my students I can capture each child’s heart. One of the best things about first grade students is their love for learning and I can't wait to get started! I will make this year an exciting and memorable experience for all my students.
Hello Cub Families! My name is Brandi LaGesse and I am so proud to be a first grade teacher at Vassiliadis! I am originally from San Diego, California and have lived in Las Vegas since middle school. My first career was in the Human Resources industry, where I worked for 15 years before following my dream to become a teacher. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UNLV and I have a Master’s Degree with an emphasis in Differentiated Instruction.
The 2020-2021 school year marks my 14th year of teaching and my 13th year in first grade, where my heart belongs! It is so rewarding to work with my STAR students as they become more independent each day. My goal is to develop their natural love of learning and provide support by creating engaging learning activities. I focus on the importance of character traits and life skills in the classroom and encourage students to always do their personal best. My greatest joy as a teacher is sharing my extensive classroom library with my students. We learn so much from books!
My husband, Jeff, and I have been married for 22 wonderful years and we have two awesome sons. Conner is working toward his degree at UNLV and Evan is a guitar major at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. In my free time, I love to play board games with my family, watch movies, do puzzles, go on bike rides, and read. I’m looking forward to another amazing year with our fabulous first grade family at Vassiliadis!
Hello! My name is Chara Mariani and I am thrilled to be a part of the Vassiliadis Community. I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I started my college career at UNLV where I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Education. After that, I continued my education and received my Masters in Literacy. I have been teaching for 22 years ALL in FABULOUS first grade. First grade is the most gratifying and exciting grade to teach!!
I am married to my high school sweetheart, M.J. and we have two beautiful daughters. Madeline is 15 years old and will be a sophomore in high school this year and Ava is 13 years old and will be in 8th grade. They both are very athletic. Madeline plays soccer and Ava plays softball. I also have two golden retrievers named Jacks and Bentley who keep me busy! When I am not attending games for my girls or playing with my dogs, you can usually find me on a beach or shopping!
I love reading to my “love bugs” and having them think about connections they may have with the text. My classroom library is plentiful and I can’t wait to share it with my new first graders. I believe amazing learning happens in a safe, encouraging, risk-free, and fun environment. We will sing songs together, become better thinkers, and motivate each other to do our very best. I feel like Dr. Seuss said it best, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” I am excited to see all the places we’ll go in first grade at Vassiliadis and looking forward to a phenomenal year!
Hello Vassiliadis families and students! My name is Mrs. Lang and I am very excited to start my sixth year of teaching in 1st grade! I am originally from Southern California and moved to Las Vegas when I was in Elementary school. I earned my Bachelor of Administration and Interior Design degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. Go Pack! Also, I have my master’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.
A bit about me, I recently got married to the man of my dreams and we have our 3-year-old mini goldendoodle, Liberty. In my spare time when I am not teaching, I love spending time with family and friends. My husband and I enjoy being active with playing golf and exploring the outdoors, as much as possible.
My goal is to inspire my students in a loving environment that feels like family with education as #1. My students will enjoy coming to school every day with the mentality of growing with independence, leadership, and support from others. Most of all, they will have smiles on their faces and shine with everything they do! As Dr. Seuss says, “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!”
Hello! My name is Lexi Fleury and I am beyond excited to join the Vassiliadis family this year! I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I decided to join the Pack at the University of Nevada, Reno where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Elementary Education. After I graduated, I decided I was tired of the
snow and moved back to Las Vegas to be closer to my family. I landed my first teaching job at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy where I have taught first grade the past two years. In my free time, I love working out, cooking new recipes, and watching my favorite goalie play with the Golden Knights (go #29!). My students will tell you that I am obsessed with coffee and anything to do with pugs!
Ever since I can remember, I have loved working with kids. When I was little, I would set up a mini whiteboard on my dresser and play teacher with my stuffed animals. I took any chance to work with kids, from babysitting to being a camp counselor. My senior year of high school, I took a community service class that offered the opportunity to volunteer in a first grade classroom. I was completely inspired from that experience and knew my heart was pulling me towards a career in teaching. In my classroom, I love building a positive, warm environment for my students to feel safe and welcomed in. As Kid President says, I strive for all of my students to “be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” I’m so excited for a year full of new memories and adventures as we learn together in first grade. I am thrilled to be a part of the Vassiliadis family!