Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts
Clark County School District
Henderson, Nevada

Teacher of the Year award winner Athena Mertes uses her love of performing and mentoring others to reach her students in different ways at the Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts.

“Mentoring new teachers and practicum students allows me to refine my instructional practices through a different lens,” Mertes says. She works regularly with the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Northern Arizona University to mentor student teachers and practicum students and serve as a mentor for new teachers in the Clark County School District.

Mertes credits her experience as an active performer with inspiring
her to teach students how to perform at a professional level and provides them with an accurate perspective on what it takes to maintain a job as both educator and performer. “The professional connections I make through performing are also advantageous for my students
because I provide them with vocal coaches, ext ra performance opportunities and guest artists in
the classroom,” she says.

Mertes’ passion for teaching grew from a young age and then as she moved as a teacher into a magnet school, because she “was given so many opportunities to help students achieve at a higher level. I feel that my greatest accomplishment as a magnet teacher has been the growth of my program over the last five years.”

Learn how to become a Nationally Certified Magnet School

Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.

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