Acelero Learning recruits the highest quality staff possible.
Our team is the best equipped to serve your children, your family, and your community. We are proud to say that all of our teachers have an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education or equivalent and our senior leadership team is comprised of experts in education, health, finance, and operations. Our board of directors is made up of respected community leaders, educators, attorneys, financial managers, and Head Start parents.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tameka Henry - Chair and former Head Start parent
Tameka Henry is a mother of four whose experience with Head Start began as a parent at the Acelero Learning - Clark County program in 2007. Ms. Henry quickly became one of our most vocal advocates on the importance of Head Start, on continued funding, and on closing the achievement gap. She is the board chair at Acelero Learning Clark County and is a former Policy Committee chair as well. She has also organized and led several advocacy events, including sending over 1,000 letters to Congress on behalf of Head Start families and speaking to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his staff on the benefits of the program. Her work in ECE advocacy earned her the Martin Luther King Diversity Award in Education presented by the College of Southern Nevada. Ms. Henry is also an Ascend Ambassador with The Aspen Institute whose nationwide focus is on working with dual generations to move families beyond poverty. She is also a proud board member of the Region IX and National Head Start Associations, the Southern Nevada Association for the Education of the Young Child, and the Children's Advocacy Alliances Strong Start Committee. She completed her associate’s degree at the College of Southern Nevada with the majority of her coursework in early childhood education.
Owner, Executive Director & CEO, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Treatment Services, LLC
Rita Blakenship is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Air Force. She is currently the Executive Director & CEO of R.E.S.T.O.R.E., a community based agency whose mission is Restoring Lives Through Empowerment. Some of the positions Ms. Blakenship has held as a public servant include: Vietnam Veterans Counselor; Inmate Classification Counselor; Social Service Worker; Child Protective Service (CPS) worker; Senior Probation Counselor; Probation Boot Camp Coordinator; Drill Instructor; Institution/Community Liaison; Residential Therapeutic Treatment Programs Director; Gang Specialist; and Juvenile Probation Officer.
Ms. Blakenship has served on the Board of Directors for Rape Response Inc., on the executive board and as the representative from her county for the Juvenile Court Association of Georgia (JCAG), and as as a member of Optimist International. She has also volunteered as a facilitator for classes on anger management, sexual awareness, and parenting in juvenile detention facilities and community-based teen programs. She is currently a member of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT). She has also served in ministry throughout the country in a variety of roles, from Sunday School Superintendent to Youth Department Director to Pastor’s Aid. She currently serves in the Bread of Life Ministry in a variety of capacities. Ms. Blakenship earned a bachelor's degree in sociology with a certificate in social work. She holds an MPA from California State University, San Bernardino, where she also completed a year of graduate studies in criminal justice. She is currently pursuing a second master's degree in counseling focused on marriage, family, and child therapy at the University of Phoenix.
Medical Director, United HealthCare/Health Plan of Nevada
Prior to her role as Medical Director at United HealthCare/Health Plan, Rutu Ezhuthachan was Chief of Pediatrics from 2005 to 2013 at Southwest Medical Associates. In addition to her role on the Acelero Learning - Clark County board, Dr. Ezhuthachan is also a board member at Immunize Nevada, the Public Education Foundation, and Baby’s Bounty. Dr. Ezhuthachan holds a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MD from the American University of the Caribbean. Additionally, she earned a master’s degree in medical management from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business in 2015. In 2014, she won the CDC immunization champion award for the state of Nevada.
Executive Director, Project 150
Debbie Harpster is a third-generation Californian whose parents grew up working with their families as migrant farm workers. When she moved to Nevada in 2003, Ms. Harpster lead the Nevada chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) to promote awareness and prevention measures throughout the state. She has since worked at various Clark County nonprofit organizations providing diversity training and anti-bullying programs to the Clark County School District and homelessness prevention programs to those in need. She also served as a Community Development Manager at the United Way of Southern Nevada. In her current role as Executive Director at Project 150, she helps homeless, displaced, and disadvantaged teens to stay in school and graduate. Ms. Harpster brings strong relationship-building, fund development, and program administration skills to the board, acquired over 12 years of working in the local nonprofit sector. Ms. Harpster also serves on the board of PCA Nevada, the Clark County Continuum of Care Evaluation Working Group, and the Nevada Homeless Alliance. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Long Beach.
Dr. Juanita (Jany) Ortiz-Robinson - Early Childhood Education Expert
Project Facilitator in the Pre-K Title I program, Clark County School District
Dr. Jany Ortiz Robinson has over 20 years of experience in the early childhood education field and has presented at conferences across the country and internationally on education. She is currently a Project Facilitator in the Pre-K Title I program at the Clark County School District. Dr. Ortiz holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in early childhood special education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a PhD in special education with a research emphasis in early childhood and cultural diversity from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Brian L. Pauling, CPA, CGMA, CCEP, CDP, CFE - Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, and Head Start Governance Advisory Committee Member
President and CEO, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Founder and CEO, Strategic Business Foundations, LLC
In his role as President and Chief Executive Officer for 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Brian Pauling runs the day-to-day management of the organization, including directing all development activities, managing financial operations, implementing the organization’s strategic plan, coordinating activities for over 100 chapters in the US, UK, and Turks & Caicos, and serving as a key spokesperson in dealings with the media, corporations, and the community. He is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Strategic Business Foundations where for over a decade he has been a consultant, trainer, and keynote speaker for organizations across the country in the areas of diversity awareness, leadership development, and process improvement. Mr. Pauling also served in the gas and electric utility industry for over fifteen years in a variety of executive, management, and consulting capacities. Most recently he served as the Executive - Ethics and Corporate Compliance for NV Energy, Inc, where he was responsible for the company’s ethics and corporate compliance initiatives. Additionally, he spent six years performing assurance and advisory services at Ernst & Young, LLP. Mr. Pauling also serves on the board of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and 100 Black Men of Las Vegas; the United Way of Southern Nevada’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program; the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce; and Boardroom Bound, Inc. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Hampton University.
Marsha E. Simms - Board Attorney
Retired Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Before her retirement, Marsha Simms was a partner at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where her principal practice areas were bank finance and corporate debt restructuring. Ms. Simms has over 30 years of experience negotiating financings and restructurings for corporations in the retail, home fashions, art, telecommunications, and energy industries. Ms. Simms serves as the Content Officer for the Business Law section of the American Bar Association (ABA); on the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession; as a member of the Council of the American Law Institute; as a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; as a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; on the Board of Directors at Sotheby’s; and as a life trustee of WNET.org, New York’s public television station. Ms. Simms was recognized as a leading lawyer in the banking and finance field by Euromoney, Chambers Global, and Chambers USA, and was the 2010 recipient of the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award, given to a woman who has cut through barriers to attain high accomplishments in business law. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Stanford Law School.
Rodney M. Splond, EA
Owner and President, Pyramid Financial Services
Rodney Splond brings more than 24 years of diverse experience in tax, financial, and business consulting to his role on the board. Mr. Splond has expertise in providing comprehensive bookkeeping and tax accounting services, including preparing individual, corporate, partnership, and nonprofit income tax returns and providing IRS Audit Representation. He has served in senior accounting and management roles at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Pinnacle Taxx Advisors, LLC, and Pyramid Financial Services as the President and Lead Accountant over IRS Audits and Appeals. Mr. Splond is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the Nevada Society of Enrolled Agents, the National Association of Investment and Financial Advisors, and the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers. He holds Series 6 and 65 securities licenses, a Nevada Life and Health Insurance license, and is an Enrolled Agent appointed to practice before the IRS in all 50 states. He has completed coursework in accounting at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and at the Colorado State University Global Campus where he is completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting and plans to complete a master’s degree in taxation.
Executive Director, Win Win Entertainment
Vivian Wright-Bolton is a first generation Cuban-American, an activist, a local business owner, and a 19-year resident of Las Vegas. Ms. Wright-Bolton is community activist supporting and advancing issues affecting the Latino and LGBT communities on both local and national levels. She currently serves as the Executive Director for Win Win Entertainment and is the Editor at Large of Proud to Be Out, a national LGBT online magazine. She is also a staunch supporter of HIV/AIDS advocacy and is an Executive Board member of ActionRED, a Las Vegas-based grassroots agency supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. She is also a founding member of the Las Vegas Steering Committee of the Human Rights Campaign. Wright became a foster parent in 2004, and is the mother of four biological and adopted children. She continues to champion efforts to improve the foster care system in Clark County and volunteers to help recruit prospective parents.