The Smith Center and The Rogers Foundation Recognize More Than 700 Outstanding CCSD Teachers in 2021 Heart of Education Awards
Annual awards program honors top 20 educators with$5,000 each
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts recognized more than 700 Clark County School District (CCSD) educators as part of its sixth-annual Heart of Education Awards, made possible by The Rogers Foundation. The awards program celebrates outstanding CCSD educators who go above and beyond for their students, both in and out of the classroom. The top 20 educators each received a $5,000 cash award, on top of a $1,000 donation to their school. With the traditional red-carpet ceremony at the center’s Reynolds Hall sidelined again this year due to COVID-19, The Smith Center worked with CCSD officials and local health authorities to safely inform all finalists and present awards to the winners. Individual teacher stories will be highlighted this year in a special one-hour broadcast on Vegas PBS Channel 10, on Sunday, May 23, at 8 pm.
“This past year stands as one of the most significant in Southern Nevada history for celebrating teachers,” said Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center. “I’m so pleased we can recognize those outstanding CCSD teachers who went above and beyond this past year, never letting down the students who count on them.”
This year’s 20 Heart of Education Award recipients each received special recognition with a commemorative Heart of Education medallion, in addition to a cash award of $5,000. Each winner’s school also received a $1,000 donation benefitting a program of the teacher’s choice.
"In the past year, teachers like our Heart of Education winners have demonstrated a commitment to teaching in a way that can only be described as magic," said Beverly Rogers, Chairman of the Board of The Rogers Foundation. "While bringing about magic this year was challenging, they did it and they did it with heart and passion. And it is with this heart that lifted students’ spirits, gave them goals to strive for, and the tools to achieve them. It is for this reason and so many more that we are humbled and honored to celebrate them."
“When the pandemic began, teachers had to shift very quickly to distance learning and navigate a completely new education landscape with little to no training and without a road map,” added Martin. “Yet they adapted, worked together and foundways to successfully teach. I know parents aren’t the only ones who now have adeeper appreciation for what teachers go through on a daily basis. At The SmithCenter, we know it is more important than ever to value educators.”
The 2021 award recipients include:
Hernan Aguirre, William E. Snyder Elementary School
Sarah E. Alsterlind, Shelley Berkley Elementary School
Joel M. Bradley, Jerome Mack Middle School
Milton Castellanos, Northwest Career and Technical Academy
Sarah Cooper, Southeast Career and Technical Academy
Christiana M. Diaz Caballero, Myrtle Tate Elementary School
Sarah M. Dlouhy, Tyrone Thompson Elementary School
Xiaowei Hunt, Ed W. Clark High School
Nicole Hunt, Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School
Jamie Huston, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
Cassandra N. Jones Barcelo, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
Mike D. Lang, Laura Dearing Elementary School
Jeremy S. Lawson, Desert Pines High School
Brenda J. McNair, Dorothy Eisenberg Elementary School
Christine M. Mecham, Lied STEM Academy
Kristan Noelle Nigro, Steve Schorr Elementary School
Nicole Pate, Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts
Jose Israel Ramirez Gamez, Spring Valley High School
Anna D. Stein, Marion B. Earl Elementary School
Amy B. Zeiders, Lorna J. Kesterson Elementary School
Inspired by a teacher-recognition program hosted at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., The Heart of Education Awards celebrates outstanding teachers from CCSD schools. The nomination process, which closed in February, invited nominated applicants to share personal accounts of how they positively impacted their students and schools.
In addition to The Rogers Foundation, additional major supporters of the program include the Las Vegas Review Journal and Allegiant Airlines. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is this year’s School Award Sponsor.
Community supporters also include Bodies The Exhibition, Discovery Children’s Museum, Distill A Local Bar, El Luchador Mexican Kitchen & Cantina, Fresco Italian Restaurant, Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix, Remedy’s A Local Bar, Sambalatte, Showboy Cupcakes, Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews, Silver State SchoolsCredit Union, Titanic The Artifact Exhibition, Uncle Rayski’s Magic Car Wash, WBF Management McDonald’s and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.