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1st Grade Team

Beth Prior

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     Hello Vassiliadis students and families! My name is Beth Prior. I am excited to be a part of the Vassiliadis Elementary School Team! Go Cubs! I am beginning my 31st year of teaching! I moved to Las Vegas in 1997 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 26 years, and we have a 16-year- old daughter Olivia who will be in 11th grade at Palo Verde High School. We also have a dog named Avena. We love to travel and hike. 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. I 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

Sandy Ohnstad

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     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 29th 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.  Khloe will be a freshman and Kyra will be a senior in high school at Doral Red Rock Academy.  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!

Chara Mariani

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     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 26 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 will be a freshman in college this year and Ava will be in 11th grade. 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!

Kyrsten Lang

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     Hello Vassiliadis families and students! My name is Kyrsten Lang. I am very excited to start another year
as a member of the VES team! I have taught 2 nd grade and love teaching in the fabulous 1 st 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 am married to the man of my dreams, Patrick and we have two beautiful young daughters. I also have a mini goldendoodle named Liberty. In my spare time when I am not teaching, I love spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy being active with playing golf, going to the gym, and exploring the outdoors.
     I am excited to start another fabulous year at Vassiliadis Elementary school! 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!”

Brianna Oberg

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     Hello Vassiliadis Families. I’m excited to be joining the Vassiliadis team. My name is Brianna Oberg and I have been teaching for 18 years. I have taught both 1st and 2nd grades throughout CCSD. I was born in Washington State and moved to Las Vegas for a teaching position. My undergraduate is from Eastern Washington University. Go Eags! Also, I have my Master’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University in reading. My passion is teaching students to love reading through sharing the joy, excitement and adventure you can find when reading a good book. 

     I am married to my college sweetheart Jason, and we have two amazing boys Jonah and Lincoln. Lincoln will be here at Vassiliadis in 3rd grade and Jonah will be in 6th grade. Both my boys play club soccer and flag football . Yes, I am a soccer mom! I also have a Mini GoldenDoodle named Bella, who is like my daughter. When I am not busy at soccer and flag football games I enjoy hiking, traveling and reading. 

First grade is such an incredible grade to teach, as I have the privilege to set the foundation for these young learners. Through a positive learning environment a child can achieve anything they set their mind to. This year your child will have the opportunity to learn through STEM activities and interactive learning centers. I love teaching through hands-on experiences as it is engaging and a fun way for students to learn. I look forward to getting to know each individual child and their family this year!

Erin Stafford

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     Howdy Cubs! My name is Erin Stafford, and I am living the dream of being a teacher here at VES! This will be my 13th year teaching, and I have taught both 1st and 2nd grades throughout CCSD. I was born in Houston and graduated from Texas A&M University.  The core values that I learned growing up and throughout college are integrity, leadership, loyalty, and respect, and are all ones which I try to incorporate into my classroom. Also, my students usually end up saying things like "gig 'em" and "y'all" by the end of the year, so just a heads up! 

      I moved to Las Vegas in 2005 where I met my husband Derek and am now the proud mom of 4 energetic kids, two of which will be fellow Cubs! Shea will be in 7th grade this year, Joseph is in 4th, Tommy will be in 1st grade, and KJ just turned 4. They keep me busy, and between sports and extracurricular activities, we are always on the go! I also try to make time to get outdoors as much as possible, whether it be running, swimming, or just catching a baseball game. 

     The first grade classroom is truly one of the most exciting and impactful times in a child's life. It is filled with curiosity, learning, leading, and collaboration. I want my students to love coming to school, to be motivated to do their very best, and take part in a positive classroom community. They will also love getting to know our class pet, a leopard gecko named Chance, named after our favorite mascot (Go Knights Go!). We are going to have a fun, fabulous, first grade year!

Lauren Huseman

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     Hello Cubs!  My name is Lauren Huseman and I am so excited to have another wonderful year here as a 1st grade teacher.  I am born and raised in Las Vegas and a product of CCSD.  My Undergraduate and Master’s degrees are both from UNLV.  Go Rebels! This will be my 18th year teaching, all in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.  My Master’s degree is in Library Science and I love literature and creating a love for reading.  First grade is so much fun because I really feel that I get to create a strong foundation to develop lifelong learners.

     I am married to my amazing husband, Chris, and we have two awesome boys, Cash and Easton.  Cash will be entering middle school in 6th grade and Easton will be in 3rd grade here at Vassiliadis.  My boys love playing all sports but club baseball is our jam.  I have a Miniature Schnauzer named Wyatt who is spunky and adorable.  When I am not at school, I love running, working out at Orange Theory, and hanging out with my friends and family.  I also love packing up and traveling in my motorhome.
     I believe that school should be a safe and fun experience.  I love to create an environment where all students feel supported and where it is truly their happy place.  I believe that when I build relationships with my students and capture their hearts, then I can go on to capture their minds.  I love to utilize cooperative learning strategies and have the kiddos moving around as much as possible, all while learning even when they don’t realize it!  I cannot wait to spend this year with you all and I know that it will be fabulous!!

Alison Andersen-Love

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     Hi! My name is Alison Andersen-Love or simply, “Ms. Love.” I’m both honored and thrilled to teach 1 st grade as part of the AWESOME Vassiliadis team! Go Cubs! I’m from the charming college town of Claremont, California AKA “The city of trees and PhD’s.”  I moved to Las Vegas in 1995, and completed my degree in Psychology at UNLV.  With a lifelong-passion for helping children, I went back to school and nearly
completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling. As a newlywed at that time, life had a much greater challenge planned for me instead. I enjoyed being a stay-at-home-mother to my three incredible daughters for 15 years, in addition to serving as a youth advocate and youth group leader for various local organizations, community boards and causes. 
     I eventually earned a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UNLV, and began teaching 1st grade at the Walter Bracken STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Academy. I have brought my high-energy STEAM toolbox to various Las Vegas neighborhood schools teaching Kindergarten. Now in my 6th year, I’m excited to see my teaching journey bring me closer to home in Summerlin, and back to 1st grade! With socio-emotional learning at my core, my classroom is a fun, non-threatening, and safe place for my students to enjoy learning.  Although I possess an ecclectic approach to my educational philosophy and beliefs, I am most closely aligned with Nel Noddings and behaviorism. Like Noddings, I believe that humans are intrinsically caring and respond to a caring approach and Praise! Praise! Praise!  
     I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family and friends, walking my wee-little rescue pups, “Cookie and Sundae” in their double-decker stroller, singing and dancing the night away at 80’s concerts and headlining my own in my car, baking, gardening, restoring (rescuing) vintage finds, reading, and crafting. Much to my super-cool teen daughters’ chagrin, I love to turn trash into treasure! I prefer the term,      “eco-artist” over“crafting hoarder.” My latest passion however, is learning more about holistic health and wellness.  Go Cubs and Just Breathe!

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