The following Nevada Chapter of the American String Teachers Association board positions will be up for vote by membership in 2020
  • President-Elect
  • Secretary
  • Member at Large

Electronic Voting links will be emailed to all current members. Please check your email Wednesday, April 22- 30. Voting will close at 5:00 pm on Thursday, April 30. Please contact Eric Maine at if you do not receive the email.

(All candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.)

-Laura Dianiska
-Emma Glaess
-Jovonie Tejero


-Debra Yavitz

-Jonnie-Jo Didas
-Joan Heupel


Laura Dianiska
Laura Dianiska is originally from Houston, TX. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University, New Orleans in 2007, earning her Bachelor of Music Education, and has been teaching in Clark County for 13 years.

While in CCSD, Laura has taught at three middle schools in the district, and currently teaches at Canarelli Middle School, where she has been for 6 years. She serves as Fine Arts Department Chair at her school, and is regularly asked to mentor new teachers both at her school and throughout the district. Her orchestras have consistently earned Superior ratings at their district festival, as well as first- and second-place awards at annual competitions in California.
For the past 4 years, Laura has served as Chairperson for the CCSD Middle School Advanced Orchestra Festival, where she oversees the hiring of judges, scheduling of performances, and generally runs the 3-day event with a volunteer staff of teachers. In addition to running this district-wide event, Laura is also the chairperson for the CCSD Viola Fest, an annual NVASTA-sponsored event celebrating the best of the best in Viola pedagogy.
One of the things that Laura is most proud of is the NVASTA-sponsored New String Teacher workshop series for which she is the co-chairperson. What started as one workshop in the Fall of 2017 has grown into a 5-workshop series covering everything from instrument position and posture to sight-reading sessions for repertoire selection at Festival and even closing up classrooms for the summer.
Laura is honored to be nominated for President-Elect, and is excited about the possibility of leading our state’s organization. Laura prides herself on being able to lead both students and adults to success, and strives to be a teacher leader in whatever way she is needed. String education is her passion and purpose.

Emma Glaess
Emma Glaess has been the Orchestra Director at Rogich Middle School since 2017. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Music Education with a concentration in Double Bass, Emma moved to Las Vegas to teach for CCSD. Since being apart of the string community in Clark County, Emma has been involved with the Las Vegas Youth Orchestras, coaching bass and cello sections in various ensembles, ASTA Instrument Days and Workshops, and performing in ensembles such as Henderson Symphony, the Nevada Chamber Orchestra, and the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra. 

Jovonie Tejero
Jovonie Tejero was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a true Las Vegas native, product of CCSD, LVA, NSA, LVYO, Honor Orchestra and All-State. He moved to Reno to start his Music Education degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. While in Reno, he also helped at various elementary, middle and high schools, including their district honor orchestra. He then moved back to Las Vegas to finish his studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He currently is a para pro for the district, assists the organization of Honor Orchestra and LVYO. He is the one and only cello teacher for the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians (FAYM) which caters towards both low income students and students of color. Jovonie also has a full studio of private students from all over the valley and is now a full time teacher at the Nevada School of the Arts (NSA). As involved as he is in the community and with his past relations in Washoe County School District, he plans on bridging the relation and cooperation between the two biggest districts in Nevada, thus tightening the community for the sake of enhancing music education for the betterment of the students of Nevada. 

Debra Yavitz
As a young music student in Las Vegas, Debra Yavitz was inspired by her middle school Orchestra teacher. That inspiration quickly grew into a deep passion for music and music advocacy. She decided from then on the only way to share that passion with young musicians was to become an Orchestra director.
Debra Yavitz received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2014. After receiving her degree, she began her music teaching career at Robison Middle School where she currently resides as the orchestra director. Ms. Yavitz is always seeking ways to better her teaching and community involvement within the music industry. Ms. Yavitz coaches the violin section for Ensemble Strings for the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra, serves as the middle school advanced orchestra festival co-chair and is an NVASTA violin day board member She is currently working on her national board teaching certification. 
Aside from teaching, Debra also plays violin in the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and the Nevada Chamber Orchestra where she is currently a member of the first violin section.

Jonnie-Jo Didas
Jonnie-Jo Didas grew up in Las Vegas, NV and graduated from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. Jonnie-Jo received her Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University and her Masters in Music Education from Kent State University. As a product of the Clark County School District in Nevada, Jonnie-Jo felt drawn to returning home and teaching. Jonnie-Jo has taught for 7 years, all at Carroll M. Johnston Middle School in Las Vegas, NV. In her free time, Jonnie-Jo plays with two local orchestras on her primary instrument: Cello.
Outside of teaching at her middle school, Jonnie-Jo conducts the Ensemble, the youngest performing group in the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra (LVYO).  
Jonnie-Jo serves as the chairperson for the NVASTA sponsored event Cello Day. Cello Day is an annual event where students of all levels take classes from local professionals as well as special guest artists. Jonnie-Jo is also the co-chair of a series of new teacher workshops sponsored by NVASTA. These workshops help new string teachers get their bearings and help make those first few years just a bit easier. Jonnie-Jo has helped this series grow from one workshop into a five-workshop series. 
As a teacher, Jonnie-Jo believes that everyone can learn or no one is done learning. Jonnie-Jo is always looking to create a better tomorrow and is excited to have been nominated for the member at large position with NVASTA.

Joan Heupel
Joan started teaching in Clark County School District as a long term substitute in 2019 at the Johnson Academy. She continued with Johnson as a certified teacher the following year. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2007 in Music Performance. She then went on to do some graduate work at the University of Kansas and finished her master’s degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Music Performance with an emphasis in music education. Ms. Heupel has coached students in the Reno Youth Philharmonic, Wooster High School, and the Advanced Bassoon Summer Camp at Interlochen Michigan. She has successfully coached chamber ensembles through solo and ensemble taking them to state competitions. As a performer, she has performed with many groups including Reno Pops Orchestra, Carson Valley Pops, Toccata Chamber Orchestra, the Ruby Mountain Symphony as well as university orchestras, bands and chamber groups. Joan is an advocate for education of all ages, especially music education and believes music is a universal language that all students old and young can benefit from. She enjoys bringing students of all backgrounds together to create something that the whole community can enjoy.