Hello parents and students! My name is Lauren Christie and I so excited to join the cub family at Vassiliadis this coming school year 2020-2021. I’m originally from Ypsilanti, Michigan and have now lived in Las Vegas for 13 years come this November. I completed my undergrad degree at Ferris State University where I also played collegiate level volleyball, go bulldogs! Lastly, I graduated in 2011 from The University of Las Vegas Nevada where I obtained my M.Ed. in Special Education.
I started my career in special education back in 2011 with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Early Intervention Program. For 8 years I provided specialized intervention services to children ages birth to three with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families. Other services included comprehensive evaluations, service coordination, and supervision. I’m looking forward to teaching and creating a positive learning experience for everyone. I can’t wait to meet my students and families!
I’m married with two young children; my son Ashton is turning 5 this July and starting kindergarten, my daughter Ava is turning 2 this July. I love spending quality time with my family and making memories. During down time we enjoy traveling back to Michigan and Nebraska to visit our extended family and friends. Thanks for getting to know me, I look forward to meeting everyone.
Karen Kennedy - Special Educator, Intermediate SLD
Hello, my name is Karen Kennedy. I was born and raised in Harbor City, California. It was during my junior high school years that I knew I should become a special education teacher. I started working with kids who had learning difficulties, and absolutely loved it! I went on to earn my Bachelor’s degree from the University of LaVerne, then moved to Hawaii where I taught for 2 years. Then, I spent 2 years in Hiroshima, Japan, teaching English at the Hiroshima YMCA preschool. I’ve been in Las Vegas since 1991, earning my Master’s degree in Special Education and my PhD in the areas of gifted education and intellectual disabilities and I’ve been a special education teacher in CCSD for the past 29 years.
I’ve been married to my best friend, Todd, for 23 years. He is also a teacher. We have an amazing son, Tyler, who is in high school. He is also a pretty darn good baseball player. Our weekends are filled with baseball games and tournaments and our goal is to visit every Major League park. So far we’ve been to 18 out of 30!
Traveling is also a passion. I love to see and learn about people of different cultures. Another reason we love our jobs as teachers…plenty of time to travel!
My philosophy of education is that every child has strengths and can be successful in some way. It is the job of teachers to find those strengths and passions of students and encourage them to build upon those positive aspects. It is also my job to help students become positive, productive citizens in our community.
I’m excited to be a part of the amazing staff at Vassiliadis Elementary School!
Anne Truzzolino - Primary Autism
Hello Vassiliadis parents and students! This will be my second school year at Vassiliadis. The 2020-2021 school year will be my 6th year teaching. I am originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey and have lived in Las Vegas for 7 years now. I received my Masters Degree from Grand Canyon University in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
When I am not working I spend most of my time with my 13 year old daughter. She plays softball and runs track which keeps us both very busy. We have a cat named Sasha and a dog named Misty who are both rescue pets. We have had them both for a number of years now.
I am looking forward to meeting all of my new students and having a great second year at Vassiliadis!
Brooke Stratton - Special Educator, Resource
I am honored to be a founding teacher at Vassiliadis! With over 20 years of working in education, I never lose the excitement for a new school year. My experience in CCSD is broad; I have taught in elementary and middle schools, worked in multiple district-level positions, and served as a special education administrator. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and it’s a joy to be part of the students’ new discoveries every day. My favorite book is my inspiration, Thank you, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco, which shows the gentle, yet powerful impact of a teacher’s encouragement. I am dedicated to supporting all students in developing their academic and social skills as well as working with teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners.
I earned my master’s degrees in special education and educational leadership at UNLV, and I have been proud to call Southern Nevada my home since 1997. I am originally from Kansas City (Go Royals!), and I went to SMU for undergrad, so there’s a little Texan in me, too. (Go Cowboys!) Away from school, I teach graduate courses in education for a local college, and I enjoy running, hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling. I also studied music in college, which continues to be my favorite pastime. You’ll often find me at a concert!
It is an honor to be at Vassiliadis and be part of this wonderful staff and community!
Nechama Gewirtz - Resource
Hello! My name is Nechama Gewirtz and I am so excited to join the Vassiliadis Team! I come from a family of educators in which education was always a priority. I knew from a very young age that I would want to continue on that same path. My first teaching job was straight out of high school and I have never looked back since! This will be the start of my 17th year teaching and I couldn’t be more excited.
I grew up in New York where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree and a dual Master’s Degree in General Education and Special Education in both early childhood and elementary education at Daemen College. After that, I continued my education and received my second Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at St. John’s University. In New York, I taught early childhood, special education for many years and then K-8 resource room as well. In New York, I met my husband, Shimon, and we have been married for 14 years. We have five beautiful children, 3 boys and twin girls!
In 2014, we relocated to sunny Las Vegas due to my husband’s job and we couldn’t be happier. For the past three years I have been a Resource teacher at Cashman Middle School in grades 6-8. It was there that I decided to further my credentials and pursued my National Boards Certification which was a real learning experience for me. While I do love working with middle school students, my passion is truly in elementary school and I am so excited to be back!
As a family, we enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, hiking at Red Rock, rollerblading, swimming and spending time in parks (Fox Hills is our family favorite:). In my free time I enjoy working out at the gym, biking, cooking, reading and spending time with family and friends.
I am looking forward to a wonderful year at Vassiliadis. I believe that children learn best from those they trust and feel comfortable with. My goal is to create those relationships with my students so I can have a greater impact on their learning and their lives.
Mayra DiBetta - Adaptive PE
Hello everyone! My name is Mrs. DiBetta and I am very lucky to be the Adapted PE Teacher assigned to Vassiliadis . I was born in Mexico City and moved to Las Vegas in 2001. I graduated UNLV for my undergraduate degree and Grand Canyon University for my Master's. I taught Autism for 3 years prior to joining the Adapted Physical Education department in 2016. As an Adapted PE Specialist, I am assigned to five schools and travel around the district to visit and work with various students on my caseload. My hobbies include exercising, reading, cooking, going to the movies and spending time with husband, family and friends. I also have two dogs, Shadow, a black Labrador and Bandit, a Rottweiler.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Vassiliadis team and look forward to meeting the families of our new community!
Kristen Boyle - Speech/Language Pathologist
I was born in Rapid City, SD and grew up traveling throughout the US as my father was an Air Force pilot. My graduate college education includes a Master of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction and also a Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology. I am an ASHA Certified & Nevada licensed speech-language pathologist and also work as a speech-language mentor assisting many of our district’s speech-language pathologists (non-ASHA certified). My experience in public education includes ten years within the Rapid City Area Schools located in South Dakota and twenty-two years within the Clark County School District. As a speech-language pathologist, I am provided the opportunity to work with students of all ages and abilities and strive to make a positive impact on individual student speech-language needs.
I have two children, a son who is a geological engineer and a daughter who recently graduated from Stanford University (synchronized swimmer) and is currently a graduate student at the University of Southern California. We also have two cats, Buddy & Kit, who make adjusting to our empty nest much easier! When time permits, my husband and I enjoy traveling, snorkeling, exercising, reading and visiting our families. I am thrilled to be a member of Team Vassiliadis and look forward to meeting and interacting with our dedicated students, parents, teachers, administration & additional staff. Go High-Flying Cubs!
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." ~Benjamin Franklin
Mindy Johnson - Speech/Language Pathologist
Hi, my name is Mindy Johnson, and I have worked as for CCSD as a speech-language pathologist since 2003. I am from the small town of Needles, CA, home of the hottest summers, and the world’s most expensive gas. I come from a family of educators - teachers, principals, and even a school social worker. I grew up going to the river every day during the summer, and playing tennis and softball, even in 120 degree heat! I have my B.S. from UC San Diego in physiology and neuroscience. After getting an undergraduate degree, I worked for Southwest Airlines as a customer service agent, which was a great way to travel for free. I was able to go to England, Germany, Amsterdam, Mexico, and all over the U.S. The benefits were great, but I really wanted to combine my interests in language and science, so speech pathology was a great choice for graduate school. I completed my master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, AZ.
I have two fantastic daughters, a 10-year old named Kate, and a 7-year old named Samantha, and a sweet yellow lab named Auggie. My husband Jason and I spend most of our time helping out at soccer and softball practices. I also enjoy running, playing tennis, and discovering new podcasts to listen to. I am a bibliophile, and have been known to read the back of cereal boxes if there is nothing else to read. I have experience working with students of all ages, from preschool through high school. I also work for the Adcock Child Find Assessment Team, testing preschool children for special education. I am so excited for the opportunity to join the Vassiliadis team!
“I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.“ ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~