Alexandra Matthews and Ruben Perta are honored as outstanding educators in the Clark County School District.

SNC Alumni Win Heart of Education Teaching Awards

Two Sierra Nevada College graduate education program alumni are among the 20 2017 winners of the Heart of Education awards for outstanding performance by teachers in the Clark County School District.

The awards “celebrate educators who go above and beyond, proving that teaching is an art, delivered from the heart.”

Alexandra Matthews (MAT 2016)
Technology, Barbara and Hank Greenspun Junior High School

Alexandra Matthews’ dedication in grant researching, writing, editing, and revising brought her school a $1,070,000 Nevada Ready 21 Technology Grant, which provided 1,500 students with Google Chromebooks for the 2016-2017 school year. She then developed a new elective course, “To Google & Beyond…!”, which in its first year introduced 180 students to digital citizenship, Google productivity tools, web-based ways to collaborate and share information, and even basic coding. “Students are empowered to explore their own passions, and instructional practices incorporate integration of interdisciplinary content area and 21st century skills.”

Ruben Perta (MAT 2009)
Early Childhood Development Special Education, Henderson Head Start

“There are very few male teachers in preschool and elementary school. . . Pair that with the fact that I work at a low-income school dominated by single-parent families, and this creates an opportunity for me, as a male teacher, to be a positive male role model in the lives of the children at my school. For most of them, I am the first male teacher they will ever see. . . An important goal in my career is to create fun and intriguing activities that engage students and make them excited about school and learning. Education is the key to a better life, and the earlier we can get started with students, the better.”

Winners receive a cash gift of $5,000 and a trophy. Each winner’s school receives an additional cash gift of $1,000, to be used for a program selected by the winning teacher. More than 40 alumni of SNC’s Teacher Education program were among the approximately 800 finalists.

With online options and campuses in Henderson, Incline Village and Reno, Sierra Nevada College is Nevada’s leader in teacher education.

“Teacher is not what you do, but what you are.”

Beverly Rogers, Chairman of the Board, The Rogers Foundation

Heart of Education Award Finalists from SNC

Justin Ayala
Paula Colello
Jessica Colston
Roxane Daniel
Jennifer Decker
Laura Denue
Ernest Domanico
Tara Geever
John Greer
Megan Krier
Candace Kruse-Makowski
Karl Lawson (Certificate of Completion prior to start of the MAT degree program)
Jennifer Marchant
Michael Monson
Paula Perkins
Alejandra Rossignoli
Dawn Schlink
Kathrina Schmidt
Lisa Teruya
Erin Varga
Rachelle Wasik (MAT & MEd)
Ryan Zaro


Jamece Barcelon
Jennifer Benizio
Kimberly L. Butterfield
Janelle Dennis
Christina Fernandez
Emily Gillette (in progress)
SueAnn Hansen (in progress)
Tamara Hudson
Kristin Murray
Shannon Regin
Pamela Reid
Kahealani Roston
Janel Roth (in progress)
Christina Tully
Caroline Vacante
Janet Valdes
Rachelle Wasik (MAT & MEd)
Erica Wright
Dionne Zurich (in progress)

Maylin Lara (in progress)
Jill Jaeger

For more information about the Heart of Education awards, visit