Innovative K-12 Leaders


The following K-12 Leaders shared their leadership perspectives. Here are the biographies of the K-12 Leaders interviewed:

MR. DAVE BRANCAMP, Director of Standards and Instructional Support, Nevada Department of Education, Carson City, Reno.

Mr. Brancamp is currently the Director of the Standards and Instructional Supports Office at the Nevada Department of Education (NDE). Prior to this position, he worked as the director of the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program in Nevada. Preceding his return to the NDE, he was the state math consultant for grades K – 12, a principal at a K – 8 school, and a mathematics/science teacher for over 15 years, mainly in the middle school grades. Most of his current work is spent in the world of academic standards development and revision, and supporting instruction with technical assistance for both administrators and teachers around effective, sustainable leadership for student learning in Nevada.

MS. KATHY DEES, Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Coordinator, Las Vegas

Kathy Dees career in education began in Clark County School District(CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nevada teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, grade. During her time in the district, she worked as a project facilitator for the Math and Science Enhancement Project (MASE) which was funded by the National Science Foundation. This grant provided the funding to provide ongoing professional development to select schools in CCSD to deepen K-5 science and math education reform.

Kathy Dees currently works as a project facilitator for Southern Nevada Regional Development Program (SNRPDP) that provides professional development to the 5 southern counties in Nevada. Kathy’s focus on professional development with the teachers includes math practices and content to enhance the teacher’s practice with the result being student understanding. Kathy’s curiosity about finding ways to make math meaningful for students drove her to make a difference. She encourages students to students pose questions and experience “aha” moments in mathematics. Working for SNRPDP gives her the opportunity to support teacher in their own math practice.

MR DAVID EBERT, High School Math Teacher, Oregon High School, Southern Wisconsin/Leadership Team Member/NCTM Board Member, Oregon, Wisconsin

Mr. Ebert is a mathematics teacher at Oregon High School in Southern Wisconsin, and a member of his school’s Leadership Team.  He has been teaching students in grades 6-12 for over 20 years.  He is the Past President of the Wisconsin Mathematics Council and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and has held multiple leadership roles in both organizations.  He has led workshops for teachers on a variety of topics at the local, state, and national level.  He is a past recipient of a Kohl Fellowship, the Marquette University School of Education Young Alumnus of the Year Award, a Best Buy Teach award, and the Miriam Connellan Mathematics Education Award.  He was recently honored as a Wisconsin Mathematics Council Distinguished Mathematics Educator.

MS. HOLLY MARICH, Professional Development Regional Coordinator, Northeastern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program. Ely, Nevada

Over the past 23 years, Holly has been an educator in many capacities: a parent-volunteer, substitute teacher, summer school teacher, and full-time elementary school teacher. She is currently a Regional Coordinator at the Northeastern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program in Nevada. She works with teachers across the Northeastern region of the state around topics of literacy and technology. She is also currently a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology, EPET hybrid program.

In addition to her work at MSU, Holly serves on the executive committee as director of membership for the Action Research Network of the Americans.  She has won numerous awards: These include Literacy Research Association’s Dissertation Proposal Mentoring Pre-Conference Program, White Pine County School District Elk’s Teacher of the Month May Vietnam Fellowship to Enhance Global Awareness, Michigan State University College of Education, Nevada Association of School Boards Innovative Teacher of the Year 2011 and Lincoln Highway Historical Society Teacher of the Year 2005.

MS. MARISSA MCCLISH, Student Learning Objective Coordinator, Washoe School District. Reno, Nevada

Marissa taught High School Math and Science in Ann Arbor, Michigan and San Francisco, California prior to working outside of the classroom in Northern Nevada.  In Nevada, she helped launch a school-wide STEM program while serving as a middle school instructional coach and has served as a regional educational trainer in six school districts.  Her primary passion and work outside of the classroom has focused on the accessibility of quality instruction for all students and empowering teachers to bring engaging, student-driven pedagogy to their classrooms.

Marissa holds a BS in Engineering in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction.  She is currently working as a district administrator in the Washoe County School District Department of Assessment.  Marissa has been active in Math Circles and is currently serving as Co-President of the Northern Nevada Math Council.  She has spoken at National Meetings for the National Council of Teachers of Math and Student Achievement Partners. She continues to be driven by the belief that education is the most complex profession out there and inspired by the continual learning that the field offers.

MS. JILL ROSS, Principal Alpine Academy College Prep High School, Sparks, NV

Ms. Ross is the Principal of Alpine Academy College Prep High School, located in Sparks Nevada. She, along with the Vice Principal are the original founders. Mrs. Ross started her education career in a small charter school as a Social Studies and Health teacher. She then taught in the local district while she earned her Master’s in Education Administration and Supervision. Next, she worked as an instructional coach in the district before opening Alpine Academy in 2009. Her school’s growth from a 42% graduation rate its first year to a 100% graduation rate by year five was accomplished with an outstanding team. Mrs. Ross was awarded the Charter School Principal of the year in 2015 and attributed it to a positive culture and strong work ethic at Alpine Academy.

MS. DENISE TRAKAS, Program Coordinator of Math Curriculum, Washoe County School District, Nevada

Ms. Trakas is the Program Coordinator of Math Curriculum in Washoe County School District, Reno, Nevada. Before that, she served as a Regional Trainer in the Northwestern Regional Professional Development program. She also taught elementary school prior to taking on leadership positions. Her work has included supporting state-approved district adopted instructional resources, developing curriculum student and family support. Also, she oversees outreach and collaboration with the State of Nevada, Nevada Institutions of Higher Education, national mathematics collaborations and partnerships. She was recently awarded Dream Box learning Hero award that is a national award.  Ms. Trakas serves on the board of many national committees such as NCSM, NCTM and on the board of Northern Nevada Mathematics Council.

MS. SAMANTHA WUTTIG, K-12 Math Special Education Coach in Fairbanks, Alaska

Ms. Wutting is a K-12 Math Special Education Coach working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District in Fairbanks, Alaska. Currently, she is the President of the Alaska Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the State Team Leader for Alaska of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. She was the 2012 Iris Carl Grand Awardee and participated in WestEd’s National Academy for Science and Education Leadership from 2005 to 2007. In, 2002 she was the President Awardee of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.