Tuition-Free Public Middle School

GALS Las Vegas Staff

Jennifer McCloskey

Executive Director

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Jennifer McCloskey (she/her) is the driving force behind opening GALS Las Vegas. After a 15-year career as a federal executive she was inspired to share her knowledge and expertise with girls to help them become self-advocates and leaders in their community and world. Jennifer has developed partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies and other countries, and brings this expertise and collaboration style to GALS Las Vegas. She also spends time in the classroom teaching business courses to mid-career college students. Jennifer holds a Masters degree in International Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has maintained a lifelong commitment to healthy living and you can often find her practicing yoga, cross training or hiking. She is mom to two outspoken girls and grandma to two dogs her daughters rescued.

Angie Zobrak

Head of School

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Angie Zobrak is known for speaking up to advocate for the needs of her students.  For Angie, students come first and she has a special way of knowing just how to help a child grow and learn.  Angie started her career in education over 20 years go and has worked in schools across the valley for Clark County School district.  She has always gravitated towards leadership roles taking on responsibilities in school operations, academic planning, teacher development and parent engagement.  A source of tremendous pride for her is the role she played as a Quasi-Administrator enabling a 2-star rated school to grow to a 4-star rated school in accordance with the Nevada School Performance Framework. Angie was born and raised in Anaconda, Montana, a town of less than 10,000 people.  After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Education from Montana State University- Bozeman she moved to Las Vegas with her college sweetheart, Shawn. Soon thereafter, she completed two Masters degrees, one in Curriculum and the other in Administration and Supervision.   When Angie is not in the classroom helping students be their best selves, she is caring for her family which includes four children- Taylor, Grant, Emily and Max.  Together they enjoy hiking, fly fishing and downhill skiing in Montana.  She is a self proclaimed Bingo-acholic and never misses a Golden Knights game.

Dinha Monzon Boyd

Bilingual Office Manager

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Born in Guatemala City, Dinha immigrated to the U.S at the tender age of fourteen.  She is fluent in Spanish and currently serves as the GALS Office Manager.  Dinha came to GALS with over thirty-five years’ experience in office administration. She was a pillar in launching three separate businesses from the ground up. Her background in Office Administration, Finance and Human Resources garnished great success for these entities. In education, Dinha served as a Paraprofessional in an elementary school in Spring, Texas. Dinha is a mother to two boys and throughout their school years she has served the PTO/PTA organizations in the capacity of president and bilingual liaison to strengthen relationships between school administrators, teachers, parents and students.  She is committed to achieving "life balance" and enjoys hiking with her husband, PiYo, Zumba and walks with her beloved rescue dog, Wendy.

Selene Garcia

Office Clerk

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Selene Garcia is raising two daughters and a son and is passionate about parent engagement in schools.  Selene's 6th grade daughter attends GALS so she can speak with experience from the viewpoint of both the parent and student about the GALS experience.  Selene grew up in Northern California and has called Las Vegas home for the past decade. Selene is bi-lingual in Spanish and English and is a technology guru, assisting GALS parents and students with Chromebooks and Infinite Campus Parent and Student Portals.

Jodie Matsuura

School Counselor

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The proud parent of two strong, smart and sweet daughters and a rescue dog, Jodie Matsuura brings her enthusiasm, as a proponent of the power of positive relationships, to the GALS family.  Jodie holds a Masters in School Counseling and Guidance from the University of Hawaii and has served Las Vegas students as a school counselor for nearly thirty years with the Clark County School District. Jodie worked collaboratively with school and community stakeholders to empower students to be their best selves – “it takes a village.” Jodie believes the most powerful message she can impart to educators she mentors is to remember that “everyone is someone’s baby.” Jodie is passionate about spreading the message of kindness and strives to be a model of grit and grace. She believes every student has a gift to contribute to the world, and that those gifts should be recognized and nurtured. Never bored, she is a lifelong learner who enjoys a challenge and believes in the power of YET.

Christine Kelley

Math and Special Education Lead

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Christine Kelley is a 22 year teacher veteran with 16 years in special education and 6 years in secondary math. She has taught both in Charter schools and the Clark County School District.  She and her husband are raising their 3 year old daughter together, making life a daily blessing. Her daughter is her inspiration for wanting to join GALS so that she can empower and develop young women to be our future leaders. She is also raising a 5 year old Chihuahua, who was her first baby and now overprotective of her human "sister".  Christine was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is of Cuban heritage. She grew up speaking both English and Spanish as an English Learner and truly understands the needs of EL students. Christine holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Special Education from the University of Florida and Florida International University.  Christine is passionate about math and inspiring her students to love it too!

Brittany Velasquez

Lead Teacher Coordinator and Science Teacher

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Brittany Velasquez is a born-and-raised native of Las Vegas who has lived in Colorado, California, and South Carolina since graduating from Spring Valley HS. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Marketing and her Educational Master's degree in Instructional Accommodation. Although she has experience in everything from sales to public relations, she found her calling in teaching middle school. Brittany is now a seasoned science teacher who loves interacting everyday with the curious minds that make her classroom come alive. Brittany has enjoyed all types of activities in her life including soccer, dance, softball, basketball, track and field, volleyball, boxing, and flag football - to name a few. One of her favorite places is still on the soccer field, both as a coach and a player. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and indoors with their two adopted kitties.  Brittany believes that girls can find so much happiness, growth, self-love, and empowerment through movement and education, making GALS LV the perfect meeting of two of her greatest passions in life

Darlene Conwell

Reading and Social Studies Teacher

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Darlene Conwell was born in Orange, New Jersey, and raised in East Palo Alto, California. She is a Past-President of the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (WESTOP) and former Executive Board Member of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). While working 30-years at the University of San Francisco Upward Bound Trio Programs, Darlene served on the President's Council on the Status of Women and held the position of Historian. She completed her tenure as the Associate Director of the Upward Bound Math and Science Program in 2014 and relocated to Las Vegas, NV to begin a career in teaching. She obtained her BA in Liberal Studies from San Jose State University and her MA in Educational Technology from the University of San Francisco. She is a 2020 Alum of Teach for America and completing a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.   Darlene recieved numerous awards for her work to promote social justice, community and educational equity.  She has served on a wide variety of non-profit boards and committees and organized community events to promote peace and wellness in support of community and health initiatives. Darlene is happiest when she has many things to do, both professionally and personally. Her mission in education is to be the change in her students' hearts and minds so that they may contribute positively to make a difference in the communities from which they come.

Julia Parrot

Math and Science Teacher

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Julia Parrot brings over 8 years of teaching experience to GALS in the fields of Science and Math integrating her passion for the Arts into the classes she teaches. Julia originally hails from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and attended college in France where she graduated with a degree in Art. Following this she moved to Las Vegas and was one of the original acrobats in Kà, by Cirque du Soleil. After her time with Kà, she completed a Bachelors degree in Science Education. Her teaching style is interactive and energized, using project based learning integrated with the arts to tap a child's creativity and to make learning memorable. Ms. Parrot likes to do yoga, rock climb, hike in the desert and bike around town. She is looking forward to keeping GALS students active and shares wisdom from an ancient Roman poet, Juvenal, who said "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" (a rational mind in a healthy body).

Linda Turney

GALS Series Teacher

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Linda Turney brings to GALS Las Vegas over thirty years of teaching experience.  She was born and raised in Oklahoma and began her teaching career there immediately after graduating from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education.  Early in her career, she and her husband relocated on an adventure to Las Vegas, NV where she enjoys spending time with her two wonderful, warmhearted adult children, has taught kindergarten through 6th grade and brought her college basketball skills to the courts of Junior High Girls.  She also holds a Master’s of Education Degree specializing in Creative Arts, and a (K-12) Graduate Endorsement in Library Science.  She’s adamant that every student can learn and be successful, therefore her teaching style carries high expectations balanced with consistency, communication and positive reinforcement.  She believes that teaching is about content, hearts, minds, the past and the future.  Therefore one of her favorite quotes is “A teacher affects eternity.  She can never tell where her influence stops” -Henry Adams.  This motivates her to bring her best every day to the young minds that she is privileged to teach.

Jade Howell

GALS Series Teacher

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Jade Howell was born in Los Angeles, California. She earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University of Northridge. She majored in Africana Studies/African and African American Social Sciences. Majoring in this field not only catapulted her into a journey of self-exploration but it gave her insight into human culture. She believes knowing thy self is a great asset to the world of academia. One of her many goals as a teacher is to promote self-awareness and self- love. Jade has experience working with children of all ages and backgrounds and is excited to enter into her second year of her teaching career with GALS. Jade loves to express herself through the arts. In her spare time, she listens to music, sings, dances, paints, and writes poetry. Jade believes that everyone has something to teach her and has dedicated her life to a continuous journey of learning.

Julianne Billeri

Special Education Teacher

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Julianne Billeri hails from Queens, New York and in 2015 she moved out west and claimed Las Vegas as her home.  Julianne has over 5 years of teaching experience as a Special Education Teacher and an additional 5 as an elementary level general education teacher.   She has a passion for helping all students achieve their best academically, socially and physically.  Julianne graduated from St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, New York with a Bachelor's Degree in General and Special Education and a Master's Degree in Literacy and Cognition.  When not working with her students, she loves to spend time building her muscles at the gym, hiking and visiting our state and national parks in the west and spending time in nature seeing all the wildlife.  Julianne is excited to be a part of the GALS team and to bring her expertise to the classroom to help girls thrive!

Hergit (Coco) Llenas

Community Outreach and Student Support

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Hergit Llenas immigrated to the United State in 1994 from the Dominican Republic after several years abroad living in Paris where she studied French. Once she graduated from college, armed with a degree in Business Administration, Hergit worked in corporate America until 2008. Starting as a volunteer at the Make A Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada she soon earned the title of Wish Grantor.  Making a difference in children's lives ignited a passion that led her career to The Public Education Foundation (PEF) where she built a Family Learning Program to improve the school climate inside multiple elementary schools in Nevada.  Hergit was recognized for her work with children and became the National Director of Latino Outreach for The American Federation of Children following her time at PEF.  During this time she also completed a Master's degree program at UNLV in Hispanic Studies.  Hergit is widely known in her community as an advocate of the Latin Community and in particular for school choice options for children.  She is excited to user her talents at GALS to connect students and families to education and bright futures.