Dr. Ronald Thomas, PhDr


Known as a dynamic preacher and teacher, devout student of the Word, prolific orator, and visionary, Pastor Ronald Thomas is a leader among men. Using his life’s testimony, divine revelation, knowledge of the Word, and willingness to squarely confront issues often considered off limits in the church, Pastor Thomas walks in his God given assignment of reconciling the lost back to God. Since receiving the Holy Ghost over twenty years ago, he has fervently preached faith principles that provoke individuals to fulfill their God-given purpose. This passion led him to found Reconciliation Apostolic Ministries in 1996.

For Ronald Thomas, excellence has become the driving force behind his way of life and ministry. He was ordained as District Elder by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 2000 and later elevated and ordained as Overseer with the Next Generation Fellowship Ministries. As Overseer, he presides over multiple ministries across the U.S. and in India. In January 2006, he received his Doctorate in Religious Philosophy. Dr. Thomas has served as the 1st Vice President of the NAACP Las Vegas Chapter from 2014-2016 and most recently has been elevated and ordained Suffragan Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World 25th Episcopal District in October of 2015  and has also served on several other committees and boards throughout the Las Vegas valley.

Pastor Thomas is married to Evangelist Jennifer Thomas and is the father of their seven children and ten grandchildren.


Roberta Casteel MSN, RN Pediatric Case Manager Nevada Health Centers

Roberta Casteel, MSN, RN graduated from UNLV School of Nursing with her Associate of Arts in Nursing in 1981. She then started working at what was then Children’s Clinic and was there for over 25 years. She worked for a short time at University Medical Center in the Newborn Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Units, and also worked at Children’s Urology Center. She is currently working at Nevada Health Centers as their Pediatric Case Manager and also coordinates their Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. After many years Roberta went back to school and recently graduated with her Master of Science Nursing Leadership and Management from Western Governor’s University.

William McCurdy II Assemblyman Nevada State Assembly

A lifelong Nevada resident, William McCurdy was born in 1988 in Las Vegas, the son of a pastor, who also has been politically active for decades, and a Clark County Schools teaching assistant. McCurdy dropped out of high school when his first son was born and had his second child by the time he was 20. He worked as a construction foreman for a brief period before going back to complete his high school diploma and graduate from the College of Southern Nevada with an associate’s degree.
At CSN, McCurdy was student body president and received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee’s President’s Award. He advocated against tuition hikes, supported the state’s first need-based aid program, the Silver State Opportunity Grant and bussed students to the Carson City to lobby the Legislature.
Now, McCurdy is a union organizer with the Service Employees International Union. He also attends UNLV where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public administration with the aim of graduating in the fall. His two sons are named William III and Charles.

What a fantastic graduation speaker! Assemblymen William McCurdy II, your story of overcoming trials and tribulations truly inspired each and every one of us at Standards of Excellence Academy!

It’s not about how you start but it is all about your determination and drive to get you to the finish line!

Congrats December 2017 CNA class!

Ruben J. Kihuen Nevada State Senator

Ruben J. Kihuen was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. His father moved to the United States and worked as a field laborer in search of greater opportunities for his family. Nearly two years later, Ruben’s mother moved the rest of the family from Mexico reuniting them with their father and eventually settling in Las Vegas.
Ruben’s parents pushed their children to reach for the American Dream, teaching them the value of hard work and the importance of a good education. Ruben worked his way through college, first attending the College of Southern Nevada and later the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was the first in his family to go to college and ultimately obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education.
Rep. Kihuen first became involved in government while attending Rancho High School, volunteering his time to talk door-to-door with Nevada residents, an experience that later inspired him to run for public office. He was elected to the Nevada State Assembly where his first bill creatively applied unclaimed gift card funds to benefit Nevada’s education system without raising taxes. After two terms in the State Assembly, he ran for the Nevada State Senate and became one of the youngest Senators in state history and worked with his Republican colleagues to pass the first ever need-based grants for low-income Nevadans seeking college degrees.
Rep. Kihuen is the first Latino to represent the State of Nevada in the United States House of Representatives. He plans to continue to help hardworking families like his own achieve their own American Dream by ensuring that Seniors get the dignified retirement they deserve, students can obtain an affordable high-quality education, and all Nevadans have the opportunity to secure a well-paying job.

Thank you Congressman Ruben Kihuen for your words of encouragement and sharing your story of triumph!


Debra A. Toney PHD, RN, FAAN Director of Quality Management Nevada Health Centers,

Debra A. Toney, PhD, RN, FAAN has more than 30 years of clinical and leadership experience in nursing and community-based health promotion programs. She began her career as a critical care nurse and progressed into leadership roles. A strong advocate of patient-centered care, Dr. Toney is a national and international speaker known for her passionate, enthusiastic and inspirational style and her ability to get to the heart of the matter.

Dr. Toney is the Director of Quality Management at Nevada’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center, Nevada Health Centers, Inc. (NVHC) comprised of 18 health centers in urban, rural and frontier Nevada. As the Director, she is responsible for ensuring high quality and cost effective healthcare throughout NVHC’s integrated practice of medical, dental and behavioral health services. Dr. Toney has come full circle and believes she has landed in the perfect location to combine her professional life and community passion which allows her to provide ongoing contributions in advocating to eliminate health disparities and inequities throughout the neediest communities.

Dr. Toney has a long history of public and community service. She was appointed by the Governor of Nevada to serve as a member of the Office of Minority Health and served as its first chair, where she provided leadership and direction for the statewide office. Her advocacy effects have advanced the national health policy agenda through various experiences including testifying before the Committee on Appropriations on the need for adequate funding for nursing education. Dr. Toney is the founder of the Southern Nevada Black Nurses Association now celebrating their 20th year. She is proud to have served as the 10th President of the National Black Nurses Association. She is a graduate of the prestigious RWJ Executive Nurse Fellows program and as a result created the NBNA Founders Leadership Institute, the NBNA Summer Youth Enrichment Institute, Obesity Institute and NBNA under 40 Forum. Dr. Toney works diligently on behalf of the nursing and health professions and is a member of the Nurses on Boards Coalition where she serves as a project lead to increase the number of nurses on community and corporate boards. She is the secretary for the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations and a former board member of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Toney participates with the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nurses Campaign and is the Chair of the Nevada Action Coalition which she helped start and serves as Chair of the Diversity Task Force. Dr. Toney is passionate about creating the next generation of minority nurse leaders and serves and a mentor to student nurses and experienced nurses transitioning into leadership roles. She has held positions for several national organizations, including the NIH Office of Women’s Research, The Joint Commission, FDA Nominating Group and Coca Cola’s Health & Wellness Advisory Board.

Dr. Toney is a strong advocate for giving back to the community and serves as Chair of the Rainbow Dreams Educational Foundation, where she is dedicated to the well-being of high risk underserved youth. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Links Incorporated. In both her professional and volunteer roles, she has been devoted to delivering and improving health care in under-served communities. Dr. Toney has been recognized for her contributions to society by numerous organizations including being selected as a Torchbearer in the London Olympic Torch Relay.

John Espinoza Chief Human Resources Office University Medical Center of Southern Nevada

John Espinoza’s career has spanned almost 40 years in all disciplines of Human Resource management. He has worked for both state and local governments prior to transitioning to healthcare. John is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC), a position he has held for the last 12 years having advanced from positions as the Director of HR Operations and Associate Administrator for Human Resources in the 8 years prior.
As CHRO, John has responsibility for all Human Resource functions for the almost 4,000 employees of the Medical Center and its system of Ambulatory Clinics. His responsibilities include; Recruitment and Retention, Classification and Compensation, Labor Relations, Organizational Development, Equal Employment Opportunity, Health and Wellness Benefits, Cultural and Linguistic Services and HR Systems. John’s role includes that of Chief Spokesperson for Collective Bargaining, resolution of grievances for major labor relations issues, advocating on UMC’s behalf regarding Enterprise Resource Planning issues and providing overall strategic workforce planning for the medical center. As part of the Administration of UMC, John provides advice and counsel of organization-wide scope to the Chief Executive Officer and hospital Administrative team. John serves on Executive Boards for advanced education in Healthcare Administration, Health Insurance administration and Deferred Compensation programs.
John has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Organizational Development from the University of Texas and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Texas State University.

Another successful Nursing Assistant graduation!

Thank you John Espinoza, Chief Human Resource Officer at UMC for proving words of wisdom and encouragement to our June 2017 class!

We would like to thank the following guest/agencies representatives for attending todays celebration:

Mae Worthey, Public Information Officer for DETR
Victor Ross, Regional Director for US Senator Catberine Cortez
Zachary Heit, Senior Economist for the State of Nevada

The students also received Certificates of Support from the following Elected Officials:
U S Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
Congressman Ruben Kihuen
Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly
Councilman Ricki Barlow of Ward 5
We are blessed to have community leaders that believe in our students!
Thank you