2nd Grade Team

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Jaclyn Gambino

     Hi, my name is Jaclyn Gambino and I love being a part of the Vassiliadis Team! This year will be full of new experiences as we build our classroom community. I am originally from Michigan and moved to Nevada in 2013. I attended Purdue University and graduated with a degree in Psychology and Child Development. I received a Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan with a specialization in school counseling and child development. Before working in the Clark County School District, I was a school social work counselor in Michigan and Connecticut. I also received my Masters in Elementary Education from National University.

     In my free time, I enjoy yoga and staying active. I like to relax by going to the beach and spending time with my family and friends. I work to create a warm, respectful, and safe learning environment for my students. Being a teacher is more than teaching academic skills; teachers leave a lasting impression on a child’s inner voice and confidence. Some of my favorite class activities include working on growth mindset and developing leadership skills that can extend outside the classroom. This will be a positive year for your child as we build on past successes and learn new things in second grade!

Bridget Stevens

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     Hello and welcome to 2nd Grade!  I am thrilled to begin my 14th year of teaching at Vassiliadis Elementary School!  I have a passion for educating and hope to spread my love of learning to all students in our academic community.

      I am originally from Buffalo, NY (GO BILLS!!) where I spent a frigid 22 years.  I attended Canisius College for my undergraduate degree in early childhood education and mathematics.  I continued on at Canisius College for my masters degree in gifted and talented education and differentiated instruction. In college, not only did I discover my passion for educating others, I also learned that continuing my own education out of the classroom--through travel--was very important to me.   My wanderlust began with a trip to Australia, and I have been traveling and immersing myself in other cultures ever since.  In addition to travel, some of my hobbies include reading, baking, story-telling, coffee, shopping for a good bargain, laughing, listening to music, staying physically fit and (most importantly) spending time with my family and friends. My husband and I have 2 beautiful children who bring us more joy than I could have ever imagined. 

     I strive to make my classroom a challenging yet safe learning environment for your child.  I believe in teaching critical thinking and problems solving skills through different learning styles.  I actively engage students using technology, problem based learning and a lot of movement!  Most importantly, I believe that students need to enjoy their time in school to truly learn!  My classroom is an upbeat, positive atmosphere where students will feel secure to learn and grown into the best student they can be!

Amber Ponte

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     Hi! My name is Amber Ponte, and I am proud to be a 2nd grade teacher at Vassiliadis Elementary. I have been a licensed teacher with CCSD for 13 years, and have experience in teaching grades 1-4. Havingbeen born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, I obtained my teaching degree at UNLV. I have always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a child. When I was in elementary school, I used to play “teacher” at home in myroom with my stuffed animals posing as my students, so I am convinced it is my calling as a profession. However, this profession is more than just a career to me. It is something that I truly enjoy doing every day, and is a part of who I am.  Having the opportunity to work with children and making a difference in their lives is what it’s all about. I connect with kids on a very positive level, and we always seem to make every school day fun together. In my class, I use a variety of strategies to make sure kids are comfortable and engaged in their learning, such as having consistent daily routines, participating in collaboration and group projects, using critical thinking skills to solve problems, having optional flexible seating, engaging in hands-on science activities, having student incentives, and knowing they are safe and cared for while they are at school away from home.     

     I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and I have lived here for 37 years. I have been married to my incredible husband, Dave, for the last 12 years. We have a wonderful 7 year old son, Jax, who also attends Vassiliadis. When I have any free time, I like to spend it with my family, go out into nature, listen to music, or play with my pets. I also love working out and staying active by either going to the gym, riding my road-bike, hiking, or lifting weights in my garage.     

     Overall, I am excited to be a part of an amazing team who shares the same passion as I do, and I am looking forward to starting my fourth year here at Vassiliadis. Second grade is a special year that will create manyfun memories, and I can’t wait to share them with you. Let’s go, Cubs!!!

Meaghan Blair  

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     Hello!  My name is Meaghan Blair, and I absolutely love being a 2nd grade teacher at Vassiliadis Elementary!  I am originally from Dallas, Texas and attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where I received my teaching degree.  I have been teaching for 9 years and have experience teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders.  I grew up in a family full of educators, and it has been my passion for as long as I can remember! I have lived in Las Vegas for four years. When I am not teaching,  I am spending time with my husband, Hunter. We love trying out new restaurants and traveling to new places.  I also enjoy cooking, exercising, and shopping.  I believe that, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  As a teacher, I make sure that my students know how special they are each and every day, and I work hard to help them accomplish their goals.  My classroom is full of smiles, laughter, motivation, and success! 

Ali Caskie

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     Hi there! My name is Ali Caskie and I am so excited to be joining the Vassiliadis team! I am Vegas born and have been in education here for 11 years. I have taught in pre-schools, volunteered in organizations, and occupied various positions within CCSD. In 2017, I graduated with a Bachelors in Communication Studies, then shortly after went on to get my Masters in Elementary Education. I have a passion for teaching primary learners and laying those important foundational skills! 

     I am enthusiastic about health and fitness and also work as a wellness coach, helping others to pave a healthy path for themselves. I am recently married and love to spend time with my husband and golden fur baby! We love the simple things in life like traveling and gathering around friends, family, food, and sports!

     In my classroom, I place a high value on social-emotional learning and accountability. My philosophy is to instill a “problem-solving” mindset within my students. I strive to remind them that their opinions, goals, and dreams are not only my priority, but that they are more than capable of accomplishing them with hard work and perseverance! I am looking very forward to a school year that is full of success, growth, and small moments that make us smile!

Email: hechtaj@nv.ccsd.net

Haley Jackson

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     Hi Cub families! My name is Haley Jackson and I am beyond thrilled to be part of the Second Grade team here at Vassiliadis!  I was originally born in Southern California but moved to Las Vegas when I was 9 years old. This is when I met the teacher that is my forever inspiration in third grade and I have known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since.  Throughout high school, I was eager to take on volunteer opportunities at a local elementary school, as often as I could.  I later attended UNLV to receive my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and cannot imagine a better career choice. I believe strongly in helping children feel welcome in our classroom and find enjoyment in becoming a lifelong learner.  Prior to teaching 2nd grade, I taught Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) and worked as a Literacy Intervention and Enrichment Specialist for students in grades Kindergarten – 5th.  My teaching style and approach includes a focus on hands on learning, collaborative structures, and Project Based Learning (PBL) to foster high levels of engagement and enjoyment during the learning process.  My goal is for my students to feel excited to come to school every morning and leave with a smile on their face. I am looking forward having a wonderful year.

Blanca Martinez

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     Hi families! My name is Blanca Martinez and I am delighted to be a part of the Cub family at Vassiliadis!

I was born in Mexico but I’ve called Las Vegas home since I was seven years old. I attended all CCSD schools since the first grade and graduated from Palo Verde and Nevada State High School (dual credit program). I have a Masters degree in Elementary Education and this will be my sixth year teaching.

     I’ve taught second grade for four years and spent the 2020-2021 school year as a Read By Grade 3 Literacy Specialist where I helped coach and mentor teachers on best instructional strategies supporting student success. I am excited to transition back to the classroom, as second grade has always been my passion. I am enthusiastic about including technology in the classroom in a meaningful and fun way and I can’t wait to explore this avenue together!

     When I’m not teaching, you’ll often find me with a camera photographing the world around us. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 11 years and we share a passion for traveling. We are avid travelers and try to spend most of the summer exploring far away places. We’ve visited over 13 countries in the past five years and are looking forward to visiting more in the future! I can’t wait to share some of my experiences with my students to help us learn about and appreciate various cultures around the world. We don’t have children of our own yet, but we do have two pups that we adore!

 

I can’t wait to meet all of my new students and get to know the Vassiliadis community!

Riley Lauria

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     Hello! My name is Riley Lauria and I am SO excited to be a part of the Vassiliadis team. I was born in California and at a young age moved to Las Vegas. I attended CCSD schools and graduated from Legacy High School. I went onto UNLV and received my Bachelors of Elementary Education. My favorite part about being a teacher is challenging my students and celebrating their successes. My goal is to create a safe, fun, and positive learning environment where students are thrilled to come to school.

     In my free time, I love spending time with my family. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have an energetic 1 year old son. We love going on family walks and hanging out at the baseball fields. We love everything Disney and go to the parks as often as we can. 

     It is my pleasure to be teaching second grade and encouraging young minds to think outside of the box. I look forward to a fantastic year at Vassiliadis!