We'll Help Find the Right High School for Your Child
Welcome to Dawson's High School Planning Program!
Dawson approaches the high school planning process with the same intensity as a high school's college placement program. Once your child graduates from Dawson, we know that the high school they attend will be critical in continuing their intellectual and personal growth in college and beyond. That is why Dawson has a personalized high school guidance program, including on and off-campus events and individual counseling.
Our High School Planning Team partners with students and their families so that each eighth-grade student finds a high school that meets their expectations and maximizes their potential. Whether a Dawson student seeks a local public magnet, career and tech academies, private schools or boarding schools, our team provides guidance in every step and ensures that each family has the tools necessary to navigate this process.
Access to individuals who aim to personalize the high school application process. What does your child need or want? How do we balance that with what is best in the family's eyes? It's all about partnership and meeting our Mission and Vision.
If you would like to learn more about the high school planning process, or if you are a high school admissions officer that would like to visit Dawson and meet our students, please contact Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop.
For information related to our academic program, transcript requests or attendance, please contact 5-8 Support Specialist Kristen Kissel or K-8 Director Chris Estrella.
Ms. Finfrock joined Dawson in 2003 and is currently the Enrollment Manager and part of the Advancement team. Ms. Finfrock was the middle school counselor and the high school placement advisor prior to her new position. Ms. Finfrock has helped place ten years of Dawson alumni at local public and private schools as well as boarding schools across the U.S. She has visited numerous schools across the country both on the East and West Coasts. Ms. Finfrock coordinates our high school fair each November, the largest such fair on the West Coast.
Ms. Ptak joined Dawson in 2016 as the new School Counselor for students in grades 5-8. Prior to joining the Dawson community, she worked for seven years at a non-profit that helped underserved youth prepare for a bright future, including college preparation. As an Adjunct Professor at Great Basin College, and previously at UNLV for ten years, she also has a firm understanding of the skills and preparation our students need to be successful at the collegiate level. She spent her first few months at Dawson touring local private schools, learning the intricacies of Magnet Schools and CTAs, and traveling throughout California to meet with ten West Coast boarding schools. She is passionate about finding the best high school fit for all of our Dawson students. Ms. Ptak will also be an option when your student chooses which administrative member they want to write their letter of recommendation.
Chris was born in Tucson, Arizona and raised in Las Vegas. He has been with The Alexander Dawson School since 2011. Chris earned a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Lewis and Clark College and M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from UNLV. His career in education began with Teach For America as a corps member in the Las Vegas Valley. He started at Dawson as a Middle School science teacher and is now the Director of K-8. In his free time, Chris enjoys exercise, food, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Andrew‘s first introduction to independent schools was when he began his high school experience at The Groton School. These transformative four years shaped Andrew‘s life and led him to pursue a career in education. Before coming to the Alexander Dawson School, Andrew spent nine years at Berwick Academy serving as their Director of Admission and Financial Aid. During his time at Berwick, Andrew was part of the English department, coached lacrosse and hockey, was a member of the school’s diversity initiatives, and taught eighth-grade Ethics. Most recently, Andrew was the Assistant Head of School for Enrollment at Gould Academy; in this role, Andrew spearheaded initiatives related to student recruitment and retention as well as the school’s marketing and branding. Andrew completed a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at Columbia University. At Columbia, Andrew worked with Harlem Academy’s Admission Office developing new methods of applicant assessment based on research conducted at UPenn, Stanford, and Columbia’s schools of education. In collaboration with others, Andrew crafted a new admissions policy for Harlem Academy that placed a greater value on noncognitive skills such as character, family partnership, and resilience. Andrew lives in Las Vegas with his wife Kyle and three young children.
Matsuko Freeman was born in Ken, Japan, and as a young child immigrated to the United States. Upon living in the United States for 7 years, she became a naturalized American citizen. She lived in Southern California for most of her life, before moving to Las Vegas, where she has been a resident for the past 12+ years. Matsuko holds a BA in Education and an MA in Public Administration. Matsuko’s career originated in the private sector. She previously held the position of Vice President of Operations for Alo Concepts, Inc. and also held positions as VP Mfg. & VP Operations for Jason Natural Products. After 20 years in the private sector, Matsuko sought a more rewarding career in education. She currently holds 18 years of teaching experience, including 10 years at Dawson. Previously she taught seventh-grade science prior to joining the Health & Fitness team. Her role at Dawson now includes faculty member and Advisor. Aside from her passion for teaching and love of her students, Matsuko enjoys traveling to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit her daughter who is the Corporate Counsel for a major automaker, and spending lots of time with her grandson Mason, a Dawson alumnus.
Kristen Kissel has worked at Dawson for nearly 10 years and is currently the 5-8 Program Coordinator. She is passionate about the high school planning program and also the proud parent of two Amazing Dawson Alums!
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.