Tuition-Free Public Middle School

GALS Las Vegas Staff

Jennifer McCloskey

Executive Director

[email protected]

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.

Krista Yarberry

Head of School and Special Education

[email protected]

Krista Yarberry has served families and students as both a teacher and school Principal for over thirty years in Clark County.  She started her teaching career in Special Education and taught elementary school before rising through the ranks to serve as Principal at several elementary schools, including Petersen Elementary.  She holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education.  After a brief stint at retirement and being a Grandma, Krista returns to education to bring her expertise to help grow the Girls Athletic Leadership School students and teaching staff.  She is excited to return to the neighborhood where she was recognized for the corporate partnerships she built to bring resources to her students.  Krista's motto is the "kids needs always come first" and if she is not serving kids you will find her watching her favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers. Krista is grandma to two beautiful grandsons and oversees the care of five rescue dogs.

Dinha Monzon Boyd

Bilingual Office Manager

[email protected]

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.

Jodie Matsuura

School Counselor

[email protected]

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.

Galina Dineva

Special Education

[email protected]

Galina Dineva hails from the beautiful country of Bulgaria where she first found her passion to help special needs students thrive and flourish. Galina arrived in the United States a decade ago bringing her rich culture to Las Vegas and GALS. In addition to her native tongue, Bulgarian, Galina also speaks English, French and Russian and has traveled to many parts of Europe prior to settling on Las Vegas and our warm climate. Galina recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a Masters degree in Special Education and is excited to utilize her education and world experience to enrich the lives of GALS students. Galina's son and daughter were first to immigrate here to attend UNLV and Galina most enjoys spending time with her family and enjoying the desert climate.

Linda Turney

GALS Series Teacher

[email protected]

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.

Brittany Velasquez

Science Teacher

[email protected]

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

Rhyannon Jovan

English Teacher

[email protected]

Rhyannon Jovan is a dedicated educator who loves all things LITERATURE! It is through reading the works of amazing female writers that Rhyannon discovered a world within and beyond herself to connect to and discover. A proud native of Alexandria, VA, she has lived in numerous vibrant cities before residing in Las Vegas. A second generation teacher and life-long learner, she began her career with CCSD and is currently completing a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education. Rhyannon has taught at various grade levels, yet found her niche in middle school teaching English, Literature, and Writing at a local private school before joining GALS. A fierce advocate and practitioner in women's health and wellness, Rhyannon also coaches women and teaches guided meditation, holistic nutrition, and yoga. She is happy to be a member of  GALS LV to continue inspiring students to thrive personally and academically to achieve their greatest goals.

Darlene Conwell

Reading and Social Studies Teacher

[email protected]

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.

Jade Howell

Math Teacher

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 begin her teaching career at GALS LV. 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.

Alina Oranchak

Support Staff

Alina Oranchak (Ally) is an Honors student majoring in Elementary Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ally loves to help students learn and grow. She brings innovative teaching strategies to GALS that she is learning in her Teaching and Educator Preparation fellowship at UNLV. In this fellowship, Ally participates in and creates research studies to figure out the best way for students to learn. In her free time, she likes to run, shop, and explore different places to travel. Ally is excited to have her own classroom one day and continue her educational journey.

Angel Taylor

Support Staff

Angel Taylor is an Honors student majoring in Kinesiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She values body movement and an active lifestyle which is what attracted her to work at GALS. In her spare time she like hike, do arts and crafts, and spend time with family. Angel provides marketing and recruitment assistance to GALS with the hopes of expanding our school's community.