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The NVTESOL board is composed of dedicated educators spanning multiple sectors of education. To learn more about the committee members please read below!

Meet the NVTESOL Committee 

Valerie Seals - President

Valerie Seals works as an elementary literacy and K-12 English language development trainer for the Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program. Before her work as a regional trainer, Valerie taught 1st and 2nd grade and worked as an Instructional Coach for Clark County School District. She has spent the last 14 years teaching and working with teachers of English learners. She received her Master’s Degree in Advanced Teaching and Leadership and Teaching English as a Second Language. She is passionate about supporting teachers with instructional strategies that result in greater student achievement.

Vanessa Mari - Past President

Dr. Vanessa Mari has worked as an English teacher for the past 8 years. She started her career teaching English as a second language in a public high school in Puerto Rico. Dr. Vanessa Mari has also taught in diverse academic settings including the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, the University of Texas San Antonio and The University of Piura. She has also collaborated with the Ministry of Education in Peru as the English Language Fellow. 

Linda Gannon - Community College Chair

Linda Gannon is a Professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). She holds degrees from Miami University of Ohio, The University of Akron, and UNLV and has worked with students from preschool to graduate school for over 25 years in Ohio, South Carolina, California, and Nevada. She represented our state in the California/Nevada TESOL organization (CATESOL) for several years before NVTESOL was formed. A certified K-12 educator, she loves teaching and enjoys reading, traveling, and volunteering in the community.

Philip Riccobono - Newsletter Editor

Dr. Philip Riccobono is an ELL practitioner with CCSD. He has worked in diverse academic institutions for 16 years, including high schools and universities, across the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Thailand. His research interests include corpus-driven curriculum to facilitate authentic language practice. He recently authored the textbook, Baseball English. Philip’s research has appeared in such publications as Journal of English for Specific Purposes at Tertiary Level, and STEM Journal. He also serves as an officer in Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) Osaka chapter. Philip is the founder of Educators Helping Educators of Southern Italy and looks forward to resuming workshops there in the future.

Takisha Davis-Woods - K-12 Teachers Liaison 

Takisha Davis-Woods is a Special Education Instructional Facilitator in CCSD. She has been in special
education for 16 years. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education in 2007 from Auburn
University. She received a Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Samford University in 2013.
Takisha is passionate about working in diverse communities in order to encourage achievement for all
students. The ultimate goal in life is to change the world one child at a time.

Jerry Ruth - Northern Nevada Liaison

Dr. Jerry Ruth is an ELA teacher and the EL coordinator at West Wendover High School. A US Air
Force veteran, Jerry became an adjunct instructor at a community college in the 1990s, and
quickly discovered a passion for teaching. He went on to pursue an MA in TESOL and a PhD in
Intercultural Education, focusing his research on the motivations of second language learners.
Before entering public education in 2017, Jerry and his wife taught English at a university in
China for over a decade—an experience that gave them both first-hand insight into the needs
and struggles of being a language learner while living in a foreign culture.

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