ECE Mentorship Program

Meet the Mentors

Pam Ertel

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in The Little Prince

Years in Education: 40

Area of Certification(s): Math (minor) and Reading (MA)

Subjects/Grades Taught: 3rd grade, currently (Also, many years in 3/4 multiage and 2nd, plus a few years of 5th, 4th, 1st)

County/School: Douglas County School District/Minden Elementary

I enjoy being outdoors gardening, hiking, and skiing. I also love to read, write, solve math problems, and travel! 2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

Lacey Carey

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

Years in Education: 12

Area of Certification(s): Elementary Education

Subjects/Grades Taught: 1st, 5th, and Middle School Social Studies

County/School: Carson City School District/Fritsch Elementary

I am a National Board Certified educator with over a decade of experience and a love of learning. I am a Native Nevadan and can usually be found boating on Tahoe or snowshoeing in the winter with my husband and eight year old daughter. I am passionate about mentoring educators and helping them achieve their goals. I am currently an Instructional Coach and also teach classes for endorsement in gifted and talented education through the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program.

LeAnn Morris, Ph.D, CETL

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

Years in Education: 33

Area of Certification(s): Technology Integration and Computer Science

Subjects/Grades Taught: I taught grades K-5 (nineteen years) and grades 9-12 (three years), and now as a TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) I facilitate technology integration professional learning (eleven years)!

County/School: Carson City School District/Gleason Professional Development Center

I love my work as the Instructional Technology Coordinator, helping all teachers and staff in Carson City School District! Outside school, I enjoy spending time with my family, gardening, reading, counted cross stitching, and cheering on the Wyoming Cowboys! 2008 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

Joanna Kaiser

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”- Nelson Mandela

Years in Education: 23

Area of Certification(s): Elementary Education(K-8), Masters in Literacy, Teach GATE Endorsement Courses

Subjects/Grades Taught: 3rd and now GATE TOSA-1st through 8th grades

County/School: Carson City School District/GATE Implementation Specialists

I am a lifelong learner with a Masters in Literacy and have my National Board Certification in Literacy-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. 2019 Nevada Teacher of the Year Finalist

Lynn M. Jeka

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

Years in Education: 20

Area of Certification(s): Science/STEM & Music

Subjects/Grades Taught: K-8: K-8 Music – one year; Third Grade – nine years, Elementary Science Specialist – six years, and Elementary STEM Coach – two years; currently teaching middle school science & choir

County/School: Lyon County/Yerington Intermediate School

I am married with two teenage daughters and three furry mutts. Together we love to camp in and explore America’s wild areas – Death Valley is our home away from home – and you will usually see me trail running or photographing these beautiful places. 2021 Nevada Teacher of the Year Finalist.

John Tierney

“If you think you can, or think you can’t you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Years in Education: 34

Area of Certification(s): Social Studies

Subjects/Grades Taught: High School, Middle School, Adult School

County/School: Elko/Retired

John has been a part of the education community since his birth. His dad taught biology and coached for 31 years. John works with GBC as the Chair of the IAC and is deeply involved in pushing the education envelope. He also writes, plays bass and guitar and records his own songs. 2016 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

Pilar Biller, NBCT

“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.” – Twyla Tharp

Years in Education: 23

Area of Certification(s): Visual Arts k-12, Elementary k-8

Subjects/Grades Taught: Currently grades 9-12, previously grades 1-6 elementary and 7-8 middle school

County/School: Washoe County School District/Damonte Ranch High School

I am a National Board Certified Teacher who has taught all grades k-12 in Visual Arts as well as 5 years as an elementary classroom teacher. As a mentor and SEL site trainer, I have worked with teachers, administrators, and students to develop positive school culture and a supportive learning environment. 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

Jerri Kerns

It’s often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change. Queen Elizabeth II

Years in Education: 24

Area of Certification(s): Reading, administration, TESOL

Subjects/Grades Taught: ECE, K,1,2,3,6

County/School: Lyon. (Nye previously)

I love sewing, embroidery, Cricut crafts, and baking, really anything to get my creative juices flowing. I love to travel and explore new places. 2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year Finalist.

Rachel Leach

Years in Education:

Area of Certification(s):

Subjects/Grades Taught:


2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year Finalist.