Academic Highlights

May's Tutor of the Month - Cheryl Hecksher

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Let’s give a warm welcome to our newest tutor of the month, Cheryl Hecksher! Cheryl is originally from Los Angeles but before moving to Las Vegas 12 years ago, she spent many years in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mexico City. She is fluent in Spanish and loves Mexican food and music. Becoming a teacher was always one of her life’s ambitions, but she was not able to attend college until later in life. Immediately after obtaining her degree though, she moved to Las Vegas to pursue a teaching credential and a job. She is now in her 11th year of teaching. She has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades, as well as Adult ESL (English as a second language). “My favorite thing about teaching is working side-by-side with students who may be struggling and then seeing that moment when they finally ‘get it’,” Cheryl told us. She hopes to get better and better at teaching every year to help at-risk students close the achievement gap. To reach that goal, she plans on obtaining her National Board Certification within the next few years. She currently teaches 2nd grade and tutors 4th grade through Andson at Sunrise Acres Elementary School. She enjoys working with students of all ages.

Cheryl has many hobbies including: travel, genealogy, and reading historical fiction. However, she is most passionate about art. She has even had the opportunity to travel to Florence, Italy about ten years ago. In Florence, she was able to see many of the Renaissance masterpieces, like Michelangelo’s David in person, which she had studied and written about in college. “It was an unforgettable experience,” she exclaimed. She plans on traveling throughout the world experiencing the art of many different cultures in the years to come. We are grateful that Cheryl is sharing some of her enthusiasm and passion with Andson and our students.

April's Tutor of the Month - Jessica Gentekos

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By Hannah Moore

Las Vegas native, Jessica Gentekos helps us greet April with her Tutor of the Month status, and has certainly been around the block when it comes to schools of Southern Nevada. She attended high school at Chaparral, her undergraduate at UNLV, and then taught at J. Marlan Walker Elementary before moving on to teaching second grade at Frias Elementary, where she still is today. When it comes to tutoring, helping students understand concepts they were taught at school, and witnessing the progress made really drives her. Her free time encompasses being a true Philadelphia Eagles fan and reading for pleasure. "It's kinda fun to do the impossible" is a great Walt Disney quote that lends itself to her life. Thanks Jessica, for aiding us in making things possible!

March's Tutor of the Month - John Yoder

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By Hannah Moore

March 2015 brings us tutor of the month honoree, John Yoder! John was inspired to teach simply by his love of working with kids, and to this day, that remains his favorite thing about teaching. Although he grew up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, John has taken greatly to the southwest and teaches Education Computer Technology to all grades at Ronzone Elementary School here in Las Vegas. When not at Ronzone, John tutors through Andson at the James Boys and Girls Club. John’s favorite subjects are history and science, which would explain his adventurous passion for Mayan Archeology. In fact, John has visited 37 major Mayan archaeological sites and 18 national parks. His goal is to reach 70 total Mayan archeological sites and all 59 National parks in the United States. His 16 and 18 year old daughters must hear plenty of inspirational stories from all of that exploration! And as far as inspiration for his students goes, John states that “Your future is only as small as your imagination.” Thank you for bringing your bold spirit to Andson, John Yoder. The kids surely do appreciate it as much as we do.

February's Tutor of the Month - DeAnn Sheehan

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By Hannah Moore

We are proud to highlight DeAnn Sheehan, a 30 year teacher from Goldfarb Elementary, as our February tutor of the month. If you were to make the transition between lands of lush green to vast lands of the desert, you’d be following a similar route that DeAnn took when she began her journey into education. Between traveling to complete her schooling, while at the same time exploring ancient wonders, DeAnn has experienced many different cultures, which have shaped who she is as an educator. “I especially enjoy visiting ruins and museums. My two favorite ruins that I have visited are Ephesus, Turkey and Pompeii, Italy. I would love to teach overseas when I retire,” she said.

DeAnn is originally from Olympia, Washington. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary/Special Education from Arizona State University, and then continued her studies at UNLV where she received a Master’s Degree in Education Administration. She has a son who attends UNLV and a lovely canine furry friend. DeAnn offers heartfelt advice to her students, gained from years of experience: “Work hard to accomplish your dreams!” DeAnn is an asset to be sought after for sure and fortunately her journey brought her to Andson!

December's Tutor of the Month - Teresa Weir

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We are thrilled to honor December’s Tutor of the Month, Teresa Weir. Teresa hails from northern Alabama. After graduating college, she accepted a teaching job in Florida, where she worked for 25 years. It was Teresa’s father who inspired her to become a teacher. He was a biochemistry professor at a university and she would accompany him to his classroom on weekends. Her imagination ran away with her as she played with his lab equipment, pretending she had an audience. To this day, science is Teresa’s favorite subject.

We caught up with Teresa at Sunrise Library where Andson provides homework help and tutoring four days per week. The children gravitate toward her and really take in what she is offering them. “I think the tutoring program is invaluable, helping students get up to speed, gain confidence in learning, engage more effectively, and benefit from improved grades.“ she said, “I believe the tutors at Andson help students reach their full potential academically.”

Teresa is currently the Art Specialist at Sue Morrow Elementary School in Henderson. With hobbies in painting and ceramics and a love for science, what can’t Teresa do?

We are happy to have you, Teresa. Thank you for your dedication!

November’s Tutor of the Month - Kimberly Sword

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Andson has the best tutors. We really do. And no one epitomizes that more than Kim Sword. Kim comes from Cleveland, Ohio, although having a dad in the Air Force took her all over. “Growing up as a “military brat”, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel the world and experience so many things. As a result, I strive to bring a world of experiences to my young learners,” she says. Teaching is a second career for Kimberly, her first being in corporate management. Kimberly currently works part time for Mad Science and teaches at Roundy Elementary School. Having a passion for young learners, Kim says, “I want math and science to come alive. I want stories to leap off the pages. I want kids to be excited and challenged by every learning opportunity.” There is no doubt that Kimberly is accomplishing these goals. Just take a look at the photos included!

Kimberly lives with her husband, two children, three dogs, two bunnies, and her many fish in Las Vegas. Kim, the kids are so lucky to have you, as are we!

SPOTLIGHT SITE - St. Jude's Ranch for Children

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November's Spotlight Site is St Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, NV. We chose St. Jude'sdue to their strong commitment to our community and the dedication of their hard-working staff. St Jude’s Ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe haven for children who are victims of abuse, abandonment and homelessness. Children arrive at St. Jude’s struggling to keep up with their peers in school and are sometimes as much as two years behind where they should be academically. Andson was grateful for the opportunity to partner with St Jude’s Ranch and this is what Christine Spadafor, St Jude’s Ranch CEO, had to say about Andson: “Our partnership with the Andson Organization has miraculously helped these children catch up and be competitive in school, and be able to stand toe to toe with their peers academically. With Andson, they have consistent tutors who work closely with the school system, and seeing the same people week after week in helping to reestablish that trust, only furthers help enhance their success in school. Prior to the Ranch’s partnership with Andson, we struggled to find a consistent, effective tutoring program for our children, and Andson is the perfect partner for us.”

To see more, please watch the short video below:

December Tutor of the Month - Julie Tacker

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Julie Tacker is the winner of our first "Tutor of the Month" here at Andson. Julie is a 4th grade teacher at Evelyn Stuckey Elementary School and is currently in her 8th year of teaching. Her favorite subjects to teach are Math and Science. She does not have a least favorite subject. Julie spends her free time playing tennis with her son, watching her daughter's soccer games, and horseback riding when she can. We have had the privilege of working with Ms. Tacker in the tutoring program for the last two years. She is very hard working and dedicated to her tutoring students. She is a very genuine person and does a lot to help these kids become more successful in their classes. We have heard nothing but positive comments from parents about their children's progress in school. One parent said "My daughter now has self-confidence in school because being in Ms. Tacker's tutoring group has made her more confident in her reading abilities." It has been our pleasure to work with such a wonderful teacher. Thank You Ms. Tacker for all that you do for Andson's and Stuckey's students!