EMBA Alumna Bita Salimian Nasri Opens Nevada’s Only Private Elementary School For Gifted Children

Aug. 25, 2016

The Las Vegas business community knows Bita Salimian-Nasri (EMBA Cohort 7) for her dynamic leadership style as president of Video Audio Specialist, Inc. Come September, Nasri‘s name will also be synonymous with the Nasri Academy For Gifted Children, the only private elementary school in Southern Nevada dedicated to meeting the academic, intellectual, developmental, physical and social needs of gifted children.

Founded by Salimian-Nasri, the Nasri Academy officially opens in September with a student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1; an environment that engages, challenges and stimulates gifted students; a curriculum that promotes learning without limits through exploration; problem-based learning and the opportunity to tackle real world, hands-on projects; and an experienced staff who understands the social and emotional needs of gifted children.

“Gifted children have unique and specialized learning and social needs,” said Salimian-Nasri. “Our goal is to develop passionate, engaged learners who value lifelong learning.”

Salimian-Nasri began her quest to create a school for gifted children in response to her own son’s need for appropriate gifted education. Frustrated with the options available to her family, she devoted more than two years researching and investigating the educational needs of gifted children. Scouring the country for a better way to serve gifted students, she discovered outstanding programs and was determined to bring these proven practices to Las Vegas.  

Upon determining that Las Vegas desperately needed an independent school serving the needs of gifted children, Salimian-Nasri did what she always does when faced with a challenge – she got busy. Salimian-Nasri saw an unmet need, found the solution and gathered the resources necessary to bring the school to fruition.  She successfully recruited a proven director of school development, Jocelyn Balaban, who comes to the Nasri Academy from the Mirman School for the Gifted in Los Angeles.   

“Hiring only the best is a lesson well learned from my UNLV EMBA education,” said Salimian-Nasri. “With the help and guidance of professionals experienced in gifted education and the support of the community, Nasri Academy is opening a full year before originally planned.”

A gifted child herself, Salimian-Nasri remembers school as a painful experience offering little to keep her interested or enthusiastic about learning. “Even college proved to be boring,” she said. “It wasn’t until I discovered the UNLV Executive MBA program that school became relevant. For the first time, I was in an environment that offered the freedom to learn at my level with peers who understood me. It took me 10 years to complete my undergraduate degree because I kept losing interest, and only 18 months to get my EMBA.”

“The EMBA education and personal connections have benefits that extend far beyond graduation,” said Salimian-Nasri. When contemplating whether to open the Nasri Academy ahead of schedule, Salimian-Nasri called a fellow EMBA alumni to talk it through. “I’ve been in the business world for years and could have called a number of accomplished professionals, yet a fellow cohort member was the only person who could get me to clearly verbalize my concerns. Because of our shared experience, he knew my thought process.”

Salimian-Nasri sees a correlation between the EMBA cohort system and the Nasri Academy integrated collaborative learning environment. Both offer the opportunity for students to apply critical thinking to real world learning,” she said.

Keeping with the academy’s commitment to serving the Las Vegas community, Nasri Academy has applied for non-profit status and is actively looking for corporate sponsors to support the school’s scholarship program for families who cannot afford tuition.  

The Nasri Academy For Gifted Children is accepting applications for September 2016, ages 5-9, 1st through 4th grade. In 2017-2018, the academy will add 5th and 6th grades. In 2018-2019, 7th and 8th grades will be added.

To learn more visit the Nasri Academy For Gifted Children or call 702.896.8000.