FACULTY & STAFF
“Providing an environment that students, teachers, and parents can’t wait to return has been a key goal since the inception of Journey. Children are more receptive and motivated when they feel safe, loved, and excited to come to school. Journey is just that place. It has been an honor to work with every single child since the first year we started Journey. I feel truly blessed as each child, parent, and teacher has stepped through these doors. Journey is an amazing place to learn!”
Cindy Jensen is a native Nevadan from Las Vegas and a graduate of UNLV in Elementary Education with an emphasis in math. She has taught the full spectrum of education from public school, private school, and a few years homeschooling her own children. In 2009 Mrs. Jensen, with her sister-in-law Becky, founded Journey Education based on the principles of individualized education, strong leadership and values. Mrs. Jensen has been married 29 years and is the mother of 4 children.
As educators, we influence the future. We mold and shape lives to prepare our students for a meaningful life. We teach students to be productive citizens, economically self-sufficient and respectful of themselves and others. We encourage them to aspire towards their dreams knowing that hard work, dedication, and perseverance are necessary ingredients for success. Journey Education is a learning and training ground where our students are given tools for life. With these tools, students will be able to, “Make Their Mark in the World.”
Dr. Thursenia DeHart-Porter has been an educator for 30 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from The Ohio State University with a focus in Special Education. Dr. Porter earned her Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Educational Administration and Higher Education from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). She held the following positions: Classroom Teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal (Middle and High School), Principal (Elementary, Middle and High School), Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. Dr. Porter spent eight years overseas (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Dubai, Israel, and Abu Dabi) as a Middle and High School Principal and Superintendent. She traveled throughout Europe for AdvancED assessing schools. Her greatest accomplishment is being the mother of twin sons!
“Individualized learning lets every child feel both challenged and successful. I love the character values that are taught daily and are incorporated in every facet of the school. These values help each student realize that they can be a leader at school, home and in the community. Our school truly teaches its students that their Journey through life can be filled with a love of learning, love of their family and a love for our nation.”
Mrs. Jensen has always loved teaching and often corralled her five younger brothers and sisters into playing “school.” She was lucky enough to grow up in the big sky country of Montana on a cattle ranch where she helped raise not only cows, but chickens, ducks, pigs, horses and her siblings. After graduating from high school she attended Brigham Young University, where she studied elementary education. She met her husband at BYU and later settled in Las Vegas. In 2009 she and her sister-in-law established Journey Education where four of her five children have had the opportunity to attend.
“Being a school manager is fulfilling because of so many reasons. Our school feels like a big family – students, teachers, staff, and parents all support and care for each other. The teachers are amazing and really care about the students’ success and well-being. What’s even more amazing is seeing so many happy kids who eager to learn and excited to be at the school every day. Seeing our students do well in their studies and personal growth is the best part. Parents are involved, which makes our students even more successful.”
Mr. Drew has 8+ years’ experience in business management. His development has been in managing projects focusing on strategic planning, marketing, logistics and quality control. He graduated from one of the top federal universities in Brazil. Previously working as a booking manager in New York’s largest private & corporate talent agency he had the opportunity to work with amazing musicians like the Temptations and Sting. His office skills developed profoundly working in Seattle as a practice manager for a mental health clinic.
“I love working with children It is a calling and a blessing to me. Journey is an amazing place to work, learn, and support one another. I especially find it rewarding working with the younger children and witnessing their eyes light up as they learn about and explore their world.”
Ms. Luege-Long was born in Havana, Cuba, but grew up in Venezuela. She enjoys reading and sports, as well as expanding her horizons by learning new skill sets and growing professionally. Ms. Long has worked in education for the past 5 years. Reading, phonics, writing, colors, hand/eye coordination are but a few areas she has worked on with her elementary students. Ms. Long enjoys teaching social skills such as teamwork, following directions, and character building. She has also worked in broadcasting, finance, and various legal entities to round off her vast experiences.
“I feel blessed to be a part of Journey Education where it is a safe and happy environment. Classes are structured to meet the needs of every student, giving them the opportunity to grow and learn to the best of their abilities.”
Mrs. Lance was born and raised in Hutchinson, Minnesota on a farm where she was one of eight children. Mrs. Lance received her teaching degree from St. Cloud State college in Minnesota and began teaching there. She later moved to Las Vegas where she met her husband. She has two children and loves hiking, reading, crocheting, and knitting.
“My favorite thing about teaching is those Aha moments where the lightbulb turns on and is shining bright. It is a tickle to my heart! The bonus is being a part of a wonderful team of teachers, administrators, and all of the Journey Education Family.”
Mrs. Howard grew up in Arizona, and married her High School sweetheart, and is the mother of 4 children. In her spare time, she loves to go Jeeping and motorcycle riding with her husband. She attended Arizona Western College and is a graduate of Arizona Computer Institute. She has been in Education for 15 years including teaching Special Education as an Intervention Specialist and team-teaching a Blended Learning 4th/5th Combo class for CCSD.
“I love that Journey truly individualizes every child’s education. This support helps them on their journey to being the best they can be.”
Mrs. Blackwell is the mother of 5 children and Las Vegas native. She has been an educator for the past 18 years, including 5 years of homeschooling her own children. As a former dancer, Mrs. Blackwell loves to incorporate movement and music in her classroom. Her organization talent not only helps her classroom run smoothly, but has been an advantage to keeping the entire school beautiful.
“I love teaching Journey students. Fourth grade is a fun year with many wonderful learning activities to celebrate. My most important goal as a teacher is to create a family of learners! I am committed to implementing a classroom environment where each child is valued, trusted, and an integral part of the Journey family. It is vital that parents support and encourage this vision at home.”
Ms. Plummer has lived in Las Vegas for over 30 years and considers herself a local. She is married and has a son who began attending Journey Education in 2021. Ms. Plummer has a Master Degree in Elementary Education and Curriculum and also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in the Human Services field. She has taught both 4th and 5th grades with CCSD and is grateful to be part of Journey Education!
“The administration at Journey Education is dedicated to the individual’s experience. This means they are concerned with every student’s academic and emotional growth, and with every staff member’s happiness and well-being. Each child and adult feels a sense of ownership and of belonging here at Journey. Each day when we enter the school, we feel as if we are at home.”
Ms. Swallie was born in Utah, then moved to Germany as a teen. She studied abroad at Karl Franzens Universität in Austria, then returned to the University of Utah to obtain a bachelor’s degrees in both German and linguistics. After living all around the world, Ms. Swallie, her husband, and their three children finally settled in Las Vegas, where she earned her Masters of Education from Western Governors University. Ms.Swallie has taught in different capacities for over 20 years, and is excited to be teaching for a 10th year here at Journey in the 2023-2024 year!
“Journey Education allows teachers to be instrumental in fostering intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development to help students become whole. I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of a team that natures and helps educate some of our finest future leaders.”
Angela Joachim has worked in many capacities for CCSD, Academy schools, and Charters Schools, as a reflective teacher, long term substitute teacher, teacher assistant, SPTA, as well as being a teacher at Desert Winds Hospital. Angela is married with 4 children, one grandson and two stepsons. She treasures spending time with her family and friends, and is passionate about sports. Mrs. Joachim attended Anderson University and Nevada State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies Concentration in Psychology/ Minor in Education Instructions.
“I am happy to be with the Journey family and to be a part of the Senior Grammar team! I am inspired every day by the incredible students that I teach.”
Mrs. Leake earned her degree from the University of Georgia in 2004, making this her nineteenth year of teaching. She has spent the last several years working with both middle and high school students in a variety of academic areas. Mrs. Leake feels blessed to work at an amazing school like Journey. She believes in her students and knows they are capable of anything they put their minds to. She has also spent years tutoring subjects such as math and ACT prep. Mrs. Leake moved from Georgia to Las Vegas several years ago to be closer to family, here is where she met her wonderful husband, Cody. She has a deep passion for teaching and looks forward to school with her students each day.
“I loved Journey from the moment I stepped in the door. I love the mix of different ages and abilities. Children learn to help and love each other in a very supportive environment. It’s like a small town where everyone knows and watches out for each other. This connectedness makes for a safe, effective learning environment. We are on this Journey together.”
Anne Gifford-Hains is originally from Spokane, Washington and attended High School in Bountiful, Utah. Mrs. Hains earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Western Kentucky University and her Master’s Degree in Education from Lesley University in Boston. She was the music teacher at Pittman Elementary for 29 years and now joins the Journey team to teach her second love, Science. She and her husband have seven children and twenty-one grandchildren.
“Education and students are my lifelong passion. There is no greater gift than an excellent education and Journey strives to provide that experience to its students.”
Mrs. Winterfeld began teaching grades 3-6 upon graduation from Central Washington University with a B.A in Education. She has taught 25 plus years in many grades to include Middle and High school Math and English. She received her master’s degree in education from Heritage University and spent several years as a school counselor. Mrs. Winterfeld and her husband, Tim, also an educator, spent six years teaching at international schools in China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Her passions include lifelong learning, travel, family and staying current in the newest methods and latest research in Education. Mrs. Winterfeld’s has also worked with school Accreditation, as a Counselor, and Director of Second Language Learners. Mrs. Winterfeld has presented at numerous conferences, and believes that children are special, and unique. Mrs. Winterfeld moved to Las Vegas 10 years ago to be near her children and grandchildren.
“I love that Journey is not about fitting every child into the same box! Journey believes that every child is an individual and should be given the opportunity to reach for the stars. Journey teaches with positive encouragement, building and lifting each child. The small class sizes allow teachers to individualize the classroom setting and teaching methods so that no one falls through the cracks.”
Mrs. Phelps was born and raised in Las Vegas. She has worked with children of all ages in many different platforms from teaching in a classroom, to leading choirs, to modeling. Mrs. Phelps also taught competition dance and gymnastics for over 20 years. Ms. Phelps studied fitness and health where she learned to recognize the importance of staying physically fit for the body and the mind. She is excited to teach PE with such an amazing school family.
“Journey is like a second home for everyone who walks into those doors. The first day I walked through them I instantly knew I belonged here and was so excited to start a new journey.”
Ms. Marianna was born and raised in Arizona but moved to Las Vegas when she was 6 years old. She graduated from the T.E.A.C.H program at Ed. W. Clark High School. She is now attending College of Southern Nevada to earn a degree in education. She has been working around kids since the age of14 where she got her first job as an aide at her elementary school and worked there until her junior year of high school. She loves making connections with the kids here at Journey. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with family and friends.
“I love being a part of a small school that focuses on the development of every child in his own way. Journey is a team that provides children with the best education available. Because children are our future it is important that we nurture and provide the best opportunities because they will be the ones changing our world.”
Taya Winters, a native-born Nevadan, has a degree in education from the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). She is continuing her education at UNLV. Ms. Taya loves the outdoors including camping, picnics, and playing in the park. She loves collecting squishmallows.
“Walking into Journey my first day was like walking into a home filled with compassion and love. Every teacher truly cares about every student. They listen, they help, and they guide every student with care.”
Ms. Jocelyn was born and raised in Las Vegas. She graduated from East Career and Technical Academy where she attended the culinary program and graduated with an advanced diploma. Jocelyn grew up in a large family always surrounded by children where she was an integral part of raising younger family members. Jocelyn has been a frequent babysitter in her community. Both experiences created a passion for working with children. Journey is the perfect place as she starts this career path.
“Journey is a great place to be. It is an amazing environment filled with many great students and teachers.”
Ms. Reina was born and raised in Las Vegas where she attended Clark High School’s T.E.A.C.H. program. This gave her the opportunity to be surrounded by teaching and kids. Ms. Reina’s first job was at Kumon Math & Reading as a tutor where she worked for 2 years. Working with children is her passion, especially because it gives her the opportunity to set a good example and be an influence on the future. Outside of work and school, Ms. Reina loves to read and enjoy nature.