05 May Schools win more than 30 magnet school awards

The Magnet Schools of America (MSA) honored Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts with the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award at its 38th National Conference, held virtually April 27-30, 2021. According to the MSA, the designation is considered the most prestigious award for magnet schools in the nation and the winning school is awarded $5,000. Along with the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award, Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts received Top 20 Magnet Schools of Excellence designation and the school’s Choir Director, Athena Mertes, was named Region II Teacher of the Year.

“These awards are a true testament to the amazing work of our students and staff,” said Board of School Trustees President Linda P. Cavazos. “The dedication you show to your programs each day is obvious to all. These accolades are well deserved. Congratulations!”

Additionally, MSA named Clark County School District (CCSD) administrator Gia Moore as its MSA National District Administrator of the Year. Moore is the director of College and Career Readiness and School Choice.

“Ms. Moore has shown great leadership and passion in growing the Magnet School programs in CCSD,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara. “Under her direction, the Magnet Programs have been honored locally and nationally for preparing students to be college and career ready. I applaud the MSA for recognizing Ms. Moore and for her work to eliminate barriers for students to enter CCSD magnet schools.”

Additional award winners include Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, which was also named Top 20 Magnet Schools of Excellence by the MSA, and three CCSD students who received scholarship awards. The student scholarship award winners are John Cooke from Rancho High School, Nathalie Cachola from East Career and Technical Academy and Xander Koepp from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts.

In making its annual announcement of outstanding Magnet schools, MSA selected 36 CCSD programs at 34 schools as Merit recipients for 2020-21. Seventeen CCSD Magnet Schools were awarded Schools of Excellence designation and 19 schools were awarded Schools of Distinction designation.

“Once again, the Clark County School District has shown to be a national leader in educational opportunities for students,” Jara added. “Our staff continue to provide rich and rigorous instruction in order to prepare our students for the competitive world they will encounter when they graduate.”

The following CCSD programs earned the 2020-21 MSA Magnet School of Excellence Award, which is the top merit award category given to a select group of Magnet Schools across the nation that have demonstrated the highest level of excellence in all facets of the merit award application:

Merit Schools of Excellence

  • Advanced Technologies Academy

  • East Career and Technical Academy

  • Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts

  • Jo Mackey Academy of Leadership and Global Communication

  • K.O. Knudson Middle School Academy of Creative Arts and Technology

  • Mike O’Callaghan Middle School i3 Learn Academy

  • Rancho High School Academy of Aviation Science & Technology

  • Rancho High School Academy of Pre-Medicine

  • Robert O. Gibson Leadership Academy

  • Roger D. Gehring Academy of Science and Technology

  • Southeast Career Technical Academy

  • The STEAM Academy at Jim Bridger Middle School

  • Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts

  • Valley High School – Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

  • Veterans Tribute Career & Technical Academy

  • Walter Bracken STEAM Academy

  • Walter Johnson Junior High School Academy of International Studies

The following CCSD programs earned the 2020-21 Magnet School of Distinction Award, which is the second-highest level of awards given to Magnet Schools that have met all the basic requirements outlined in MSA’s merit awards scoring rubric:

 Merit Schools of Distinction

  • Brown Academy of International Studies

  • Canyon Springs High School Leadership & Law Preparatory Academy

  • Clarence Piggott Academy of International Studies

  • Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts

  • Desert Pines Magnet Academy (DPMA)

  • Ed W. Clark High School

  • Hyde Park Middle School

  • Kenny C. Guinn STEM Academy

  • Las Vegas Academy of the Arts

  • Lied STEM Academy

  • Lomie G. Heard Magnet School

  • Mabel Hoggard Math & Science Magnet School

  • McCaw STEAM Academy

  • Northwest Career & Technical Academy

  • Roy W. Martin Middle School

  • Sandy Searles Miller Academy for International Studies

  • Southwest Career and Technical Academy

  • Valley High School – International Baccalaureate Programme

  • West Career and Technical Academy


To learn more about Magnet Schools of America, visit magnet.edu. For more information about CCSD Magnet Schools, visit magnet.ccsd.net.