Design to Edrupt: Fellowship program helps educators turn ideas into action with a mission toward equity

To bring the change that our kids deserve, it takes a team of dedicated leaders who are willing to shift the standard approach to learning. 

Engaging students in thinking big about new learning experiences during Student Design Day

To further support educators across the  fifth most diverse and dynamic school district in the nation, Opportunity 180 launched a new fellowship that will provide focused support to five underrepresented educational leaders across Clark County, with a goal to launch new learning environments for students. The combination of diverse leadership and the build out of equity-based learning models through this fellowship will help to launch new schools, modify the current education environments, and provide new opportunities for educators, students, and their families. 

The 2022 Explore Cohort for the inaugural “Design to Edrupt” fellowship was built from Moonshot edVentures which was designed and launched in Denver, CO in 2017. The fellowship is an investment in educational design, and presents new strategies for learning while aiming to ground these approaches in the needs of students and families. 

Following the main core values of the fellowship—respect, trust, love, equity, collaboration, and paying it forward—fellows will experiment with learning environments they co-create with students and families, in order to design a new school or an internal program for students in Clark County. The participants chosen are among teachers, school administrators, and nonprofit members from across the county.

“Fellows will use the liberatory approach to design-thinking and listen to what students and families need,” said Tamara Shear, Senior Director of Great Schools Portfolio. “(They will) use this practice to design a learning environment that meets those needs and disrupts the traditional education system.”

The liberatory approach is an equity-centered practice that creates opportunities for the equity practitioner and the designers. Together, they will build skill sets that will enable them to develop a new approach to designing learning environments. Some of those examples include practicing empathy and problem-solving to help others understand their equity values, awareness, and reflecting on the impact of one’s beliefs and biases. 

The fellows for the program were selected based on the following criteria: Entrepreneurial Mindset, People Leadership, Strategic and Operational Leadership, and Instructional Leadership. Fellows also will have access and opportunities to connect with local leaders that are interested in supporting them on their journey to launch their  school program or learning environment. 

We are honored to announce the 2022 Explore Cohort for the Design to Edrupt Fellowship: 

Cece Rice – Principal and Business Owner

Venture: Educators of Color Alliance (Educator Support Program) ∙ Projected Launch Date: June 2022 ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: Educators in years 3-5 of their career ∙ Target Geography: Las Vegas Valley

Cesserly Rice is the current principal at Nevada Rise Academy in Las Vegas, with a Masters in Educational Administration. She served in several leadership capacities over the past six years, including K-8 instructional coach, director of achievement, and assistant principal. She also worked with a local Alternate Route to Licensure program that prepares aspiring educators to fill roles as teachers across the Las Vegas Valley. Through this work, CeCe discovered her inclination and desire to develop and support educators.

Jeff Hinton – Teacher and Consultant

Venture: Entrepreneurial and Leadership Academy of Las Vegas (Charter School)  ∙ Projected Launch Date: TBD ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: 9-12 ∙ Target Geography: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. Jeff Hinton is a blogger, writer, and video content creator. He believes that all students are uniquely special and are capable of learning deeply through relevant, hands-on, student-centered approaches that fosters high cognitive demand, creativity, and a love for learning.

Joseph Orosco – Teacher and Non-Profit Founder

Venture: Warriors of Light Family Inc. (Program) ∙ Launch Date: August 2020 ∙ Grade Level (s) Served: 8-12 ∙ Target Geography: East Las Vegas

Joseph Orosco is the Founder and Executive Director of Warriors of Light Family Inc., in Las Vegas. He is also a Mathematics Teacher at Equipo Academy, where he teaches an Algebra 1 curriculum he created. Joseph completed his Undergrad at Trinity College with a dual B.A. in Urban Studies and Engineering Science, followed by his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Joseph also serves as a foster parent and received several awards such as SIC Community Award, Coca-Cola Scholar, and NBA Latino Night Awardee.

Kendrick Kumabe – Educator and Business Owner

Venture: Champions Classical Leadership Academy (Private or Charter School) Projected Launch Date: August 2024  Grade Level(s) Served: K-2  Target Geography: North Las Vegas 

With more than 20 years of experience in the field, Kendrick Kumabe is a distinguished member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., a historical association launched by African Americans, and is currently serving as the President of the Nevada African American Administrators and Superintendents Association, Teachers Chapter. 

He is the acclaimed author of “Coaching Young Champions: Social Emotional Learning Considerations for the Virtual/Hybrid Educator”; and is also the founder of Kenzumi Education Consulting, LLC. 

Kendrick is now serving as the President of Superior Substitutes, a Las Vegas based education staffing firm committed to filling critical teacher shortages in underserved communities. 

Mike Taack – Educator and Community Outreach Coordinator

Venture: Western Youth Leadership, Engagement, and Empowerment School (Middle School) ∙ Projected Launch Date: TBD ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: 6-8 ∙ Target Geography: Central Las Vegas

With more than 12 years of experience in the education field, Mike Taack is a graduate of Clark County School District and a two-time graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Before becoming an educator, Mike worked in restaurants and insurance companies. He completed his student teaching at Fremont Professional Development Middle School while working on his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. He immediately fell in love with both the profession and the neighborhood, and has been at Fremont for nearly all of his career. He has taught English, explorations, publications, and computer science, and has mentored many student teachers and practicum students as a part of Fremont’s unique relationship with professional development schools and UNLV.  

We can’t wait to see what the fellows in partnership with the community design and develop. We are on a journey to learn alongside. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming workshops and cohorts, please visit our website or contact Tamara Shear at

What are you looking forward to the most this school year?

Teacher leaders in our partner Fellowship programs are gearing up for the new school year and planning ways to apply their newly developed skills in their classrooms. Below, we capture some of their reflections.


Q: What are you looking forward to the most this school year?

Anthony Mooney, Lead Nevada Fellow: This year I am looking forward to watching a new school, Nevada Prep, come to life. I am also looking forward to helping new teachers develop into effective educators and delivering effective instruction that raises student achievement.

Kenny Belknap, Teach Plus Fellow: This should be a busy year between teaching a new class and working on my Teach Plus work. I’m excited to share the knowledge I gain with my students.

Jordana McCudden, Teach Plus Fellow: As a consulting teacher, I’ll have the opportunity to work side by side with brand new teachers, helping them navigate the complexities of teaching.

Stevie Johnson, Lead Nevada Fellow: I am most looking forward to  starting at a new school, Nevada Rise. I am excited about working with new staff, students and curriculum as grade chair lead.

Jen Loescher, Teach Plus Fellow: This school year is bursting with exciting opportunities for learning– about Nevada education policy, how to improve my craft of teaching, and building new relationships with my new role at RPDP.

Richard Wiley, Teach Plus Fellow: I look forward to making a significant, positive impact on the lives of each of my students. It will require leveraging every available resource and maximizing human capital to its fullest extent to improve our high schools.

Mary Ardoin: Lead Nevada Fellow: This year I am most looking forward to helping our new teachers create and implement a vision of excellence for themselves and students.

Jeanine Zelik, Teach Plus Fellow: Every year I look forward to creating relationships with students. I am fortunate to watch my former students continue their educational journey and help them achieve their goals as they look at their future post-graduation.

Justin Brecht, Building Excellent Schools Fellow & Founder of Nevada Rise:  I look forward to the vision of Nevada Rise becoming a reality. Most importantly, I look forward to delivering on the promise we have made to each individual family as we begin the our journey on the path to college.

Mary Enwemaya, Lead Nevada Fellow: I’m looking forward to better understanding how to align the new state (MAP) testing to advance student learning and adjust to their needs and desires.

Q: How will your Fellowship program help you achieve your objectives and make a bigger impact?

Anthony Mooney, Lead Nevada Fellow: Lead Nevada Academy has given me the knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful through participation in rigorous coaching and role play activities that have driven me to develop and hone specific skills.

Kenny Belknap, Teach Plus Fellow: The Teach Plus Fellowship is providing me with the tools I need to help elevate my voice and learn the several different paths available to make change or influence policy makers.

Jordana McCudden, Teach Plus Fellow: At Teach Plus, I have gained an understanding of the “how” and “why” behind education policy. Celine Coggins, founder of Teach Plus, says if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. I am now ready to sit at the table with stakeholders in affecting the change I feel will directly impact student achievement and teacher retention.

Stevie Johnson, Lead Nevada Fellow: Since my school will be new and we will have a small staff, there are many opportunities to take on leadership roles. Lead Nevada Academy will help provide me with the framework and skills to develop me as a leader.

Jen Loescher, Teach Plus Fellow: Teach Plus has provided a concrete platform to learn about education policy and how to advocate and get my voice to the table.  My confidence has grown, helping me choose to step outside my comfort zones and grow my network.

Richard Wiley, Teach Plus Fellow: The Teach Plus Fellowship keeps me apprised about what other schools in Nevada are doing to continually improve, and provides a vehicle for professional collaboration opportunities with high quality educators in other districts.

Mary Ardoin, Lead Nevada Fellow: Lead Nevada Academy is already a part of my achievement, as I realized during our summer work that the best way to prepare teachers for success is to first help them envision what a high achieving classroom will look like. Then, provide them the tools that will help them accomplish their goals.

Jeanine Zelik, Teach Plus Fellow: This fellowship allows me to dive deeper into the issues happening within education in Nevada, not only Clark County. It also allows me to help better educate and explain the status of particular issues without bias, just a deeper understanding of what is going on.

Justin Brecht, Building Excellent Schools Fellow & Founder of Nevada Rise: The BES Fellowship helps keep my focus on the principles of our mission, and the details that will help drive toward meeting the mission. Our partnership with BES ensures we implement precise practice and feedback on many levels and provides a strong network of support.

Mary Enwemaya, Lead Nevada Fellow: Lead Nevada Academy will allow me to look through dual lenses, as a classroom instructor and administrator. On the micro level, I can engage with data in my classroom by looking at individual students and focus their glows and growths. On a macro level, as an administrator, I hope to gain an overview of trends from K-2 and understand the shifts that occur in instruction, data, etc.


Wishing each of our program Fellows, and ALL Nevada educators, a strong start to a new school year!