Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

Two Nevada Schools Named National ESEA Distinguished Schools

January 9, 2024

CARSON CITY, Nev. –   The Nevada Department of Education is proud to announce two outstanding elementary schools, Gordon McCaw STEAM Academy Elementary School and Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary School in Clark County School District, were recognized as Nevada’s 2023 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools.

"These designations highlight the hard work and collaboration among educators, students, families, and the community,” said Jhone Ebert, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Gordon McCaw and Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary Schools are shining examples of what can be achieved when everyone comes together to prioritize education and student success."

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators – formerly the National Title I Association – has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program since 1996. Awarded schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success, and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

Schools are awarded for their positive educational advances in one of three categories:

  • Category 1: Schools exhibiting exceptional student performance and academic growth
  • Category 2: Schools that have closed the achievement gap between student groups
  • Category 3: Schools that show excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g. homeless, migrant, English learners, etc.)

Gordon McCaw STEAM Academy Elementary School has been recognized as a Category 3 school for excellence in serving special populations of students for two consecutive years. This distinction reflects the school's unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment, ensuring that all students, regardless of their unique needs, receive a high-quality education.

McCaw STEAM Academy Principal Jennifer Furman-Born was thrilled with the national award. "We are honored and excited to have received this recognition. It results from our school community's hard work and dedication to growing minds. Our priority is focusing on strong Tier 1 instruction, STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics], and setting individual learning paths for all students. It is through our positive school climate and culture that the McCaw staff is able to set the stage for students to be motivated and excited to learn and excel!”

Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary School, on the other hand, has been acknowledged as a Category 1 school for exceptional student performance, meeting and/or exceeding the Measures of Intermittent Progress for two consecutive years. This recognition underscores the school's dedication to academic excellence and the outstanding achievements of its students.

“Walter Bracken’s success is due to its highly talented and committed staff and their unwavering commitment to student success,” said Stanica Sretenovic, Principal at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy. “This award means so much to the Bracken team, as it validates everything we work so hard to achieve. As we say at Bracken, ‘Full STEAM Ahead. No Limits!’”  

For more information about the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program or the Nevada Department of Education, please visit

About the Nevada Department of Education

The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) leads and collaborates with Nevada’s 17 school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority to advance educational equity Statewide. With offices in Carson City and Las Vegas, NDE oversees all pre-K-12 education in the State, working to achieve its mission to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning, and promoting excellence. Under the leadership of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, NDE impacts the achievement of nearly half a million children and 30,000 educators. Learn more about NDE and join us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sandy Julian

Interim Public Information Officer