ACTE Announces Nevada Teacher as 2018 National Award Winner

December 7, 2017

Jarrod Nagurka,


ACTE Announces Nevada Teacher as 2018 National Award Winner

ALEXANDRIA, VA Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announcedSara Quintana, a Teacher at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, as the 2018 National ACTE New Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes new CTE teachers who have made significant contributions toward innovative and unique career and technical education programs and shown a professional commitment early in their careers.

Before becoming an aerospace engineering instructor at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sara Quintana worked on computational fluid dynamics analysis for Dodge Racing’s NASCAR division. Quintana has developed an authentic and rigorous curriculum for her students that includes airplane design challenges and a lab experiment on neutral buoyancy using Mylar balloon spacecraft and Lego astronauts. Quintana partnered with a nearby magnet elementary school to construct a hydroponic garden designed by her students in which first grade students grew seedlings for their science curriculum. In an effort to improve the relationship between Clark County School District (CCSD) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Quintana hosts a series of business luncheons in which professionals and professors visit the school and answer questions regarding their educational and business experiences. This partnership has led to increased internship opportunities for her students. Ms. Quintana is by far the most patient, intellectual teacher that I have encountered throughout my academic life,says Hannah Chingarande, a student at Rancho High School.

Quintana has developed resources to help other teachers align with the Next Generation Science Standards, written state standards and exit exam questions for aerospace engineering, and served on a task force to aid in the realignment of the county’s robotics standards. She advises the Robotics Club, Hydroponic Garden Team, StellarXplorers Team, Astronomy Club, Science Olympiad, and the Safecracking Team which competes annually at an international physics competition in Israel. She has presented, often alongside her students, at the Magnet Schools of America National Conference, the Celebrate Israel Festival, the Las Vegas Mini MakerFaire, the Southwest Transportation Distribution and Logistics Partnership Webconference, and the Las Vegas Science and Technology Festival. Quintana currently serves as the Nevada ACTE Vice President of Trade and Industry and has met with Nevada legislators to advocate for improvements to state CTE legislation.

Quintana was one of five finalists for the 2018 national title. The national winner was announced at theACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event took place on Wednesday evening, December 6, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Awards Banquet was sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards,visit our webpage.


About ACTE The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.