Parade Judges

Briar WilliamsNOTE:  Briar was born 5 months after her father Wendell P. Williams started the parade 35 years ago.  This will be Briar’s first time participating in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.

Growing up in a household where both parents were educators, it was inevitable Briar Williams would follow the same career path. She attended Shorter University in Georgia, obtained a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with Dean’s Honors and sparked the 4th generation of educators in her lineage. Williams has been a positive influential aspect in children’s lives as an educator and an administrator for over 13 years in the United States and overseas in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Briar Williams not only has developed innovative and successful instructional strategies and resources to promote student’s lifelong learning and holistic development, but her ability to prepare students to become global citizens has earned her numerous recognitions in the education field. She has successful established a community and global outreach program to support all learners in reaching their full potential to compete in the global market. This program assisted students from an array of backgrounds to form positive relationships, appreciate other heritages, traditions, culture and customs as well as develop their communication and literacy skills.

Ms. Williams believes in creating partnerships with the school environment and the families being served. She leads workshops where parents receive training tools to assist them with working with their children at home, encouraging their cognitive, emotional, physical and social success. She provides regular professional development for teachers in her home country and abroad in the United Arab Emirates. Currently she is the department chair of her grade level in which she teaches. She is also the department chair of the multi-cultural committee and the curriculum committee at her current school site in Forest Park, Georgia. Ms. Williams has created curriculum and assessments, used by numerous teachers, which has proven to increase students’ academic success

She has led mentoring programs for students who are considered trouble youth, ensuring that they can identify and nurture their unique talents by giving back to others. This year she was the keynote speaker at Tensas High School 40th Reunion where she encouraged those to utilize their gifts and talents to give back to their community and beyond for the greater good.

Briar Williams is passionate about teaching and learning and believes in developing the true potential of all children from a wide range of backgrounds. Her experience working in an international and multi-cultural setting is a constant testament of how she is able to reach the needs of all children from various backgrounds, achieve good progression in pupils’ understanding and holistic development.


Mario Berlanger Las Vegas Review Journal

A lot of local business owners give back to the community. It’ s hard not to when you the community is your customer base.

But Mario Berlanga, owner of Mario’s West Side Market, really walks the walk and talks the talk.

How so?

He adopted two children, now 18, who played on the Little League baseball team he sponsored more than a decade ago after hearing how their parents abandoned them; and, of the 38 employees who work for him, 32 are from the immediate West Side, many live within walking distance of the market.

Flanked by a McDonald’s, a Jack in the Box, a Dollar General and a soon-to-open Pollo Loco, Mario’s West Side Market is an independent operator in a sea of franchises, located on the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Lake Mead boulevards.

It’s the only place in that area offering a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and home-cooked meals in a part of town where processed foods and supersized drinks are commonplace. In short, Mario’s is the “Cheers” version of a store and restaurant: Everybody knows just about everybody by name, including Berlanga, who grew up in the Marble Manor and Casa Rosa subsidized housing projects just blocks away.

As it turns out, it was Berlanga’s next-door neighbor at Casa Rosa, an outgoing elderly black woman by the name of Ida Jackson, who taught him and his 10 brothers and sisters how to prepare dozens of dishes from the Deep South, some of which you can now be found in Mario’s delicatessen, from the Peach Cobbler to the smothered pork chops to the Ox Tail soup.

Indeed, it was Ida’s recipes — along with her wisdom — that ended up having a lasting effect on Berlanga’s life, serving as quite the contrast from the tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas that his family was accustomed to eating, his mother being from Laredo, Texas; his father a few hours south of the border, in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.

Berlanga as a teen worked alongside Ida in her kitchen at Casa Rosa, which has since been torn down. But her recipes keep on living, along with the impression she left on Berlanga. When the flour and cheese would come in bulk, courtesy of the a food stamp program, Ida taught Berlanga how to quickly scan the back of flour for cake recipes.

As for the cheese, well, it could be added to just about anything, Berlanga quickly discovered.

“We used to call them ‘commodities,’ ” said Berlanga, 52, whose birth name was actually Maurilio only nobody could pronounce it in grade school and so it became “Mario” by default.  *CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE STORY”….

chrisg_curvedChris G  is a Clark County Commissioner for District E in Clark County, Nevada which includes Las Vegas. She is often referred to as “Chris G.”[2]She is a member of the Democratic Party.   She served as president of the Clark County Education Association from 1983 through 1987 and as president of the Nevada State Education Association from 1987 through 1991.[3] Giunchigliani was born to American parents in Lucca, Italy. The oldest of six children (three girls and three boys), Giunchigliani grew up in Chicago, Illinois.[3]

Giunchigliani attended Avila College in Kansas City, Missouri. She worked in retail, bartended and waitressed to pay her way through college, graduating in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in special education.[2]

After teaching special education in Shawnee Mission, Kansas for two years, Chris moved to Las Vegas, and worked her way to another degree, this time at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, earning a master’s degree in education with special emphasis on the emotionally disturbed.[3]



Nathan Armogan is the Assistant General Manager of the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa and moved to the United States upon high school graduation from the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway. He attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and graduated with a degree in Economics.

After stints on the East Coast and Midwest, Nathan moved to Las Vegas in 2005 and has been employed in the gaming industry ever since. He has spent the last 8 years of his career working with Caesars Entertainment in various roles of increasing responsibility. The joys of his life are his wife Amber and 3 young children, Kasara, Kiran and Amira. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer and golf.