We think teachers deserve to have parties thrown in their honor on a regular basis, especially with the heavy lifting they’re doing during the pandemic. While we don’t get to celebrate them every day, we were proud to recognize one specific Nevada teacher and his wife.
Grant Sawyer Middle School teacher Shane Dolliver was the one-thousandth teacher to use the NHD Home Is Possible For Teachers down payment assistance program to purchase a home. The recognition was extra special since his wife, Samantha, also works for the Clark County School District (CCSD) — as a police dispatcher.
This particular celebration took place on Wednesday, Dec. 9, and included Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, CCSD Chief of Staff Dr. Christopher Bernier, Grant Sawyer Middle School Principal Gregory Mingo and members of the Nevada Housing Division (NHD) team.
Since we weren’t able to celebrate this momentous occasion in person, we did the totally 2020 thing and hopped on a video call. Governor Sisolak presented Shane and Samantha with a special commendation, and then the NHD team gave them a personalized name plaque and a caramel apple for the teacher, along with a gift card from Apple.
“While we have always valued teachers and their contributions to our state, this seems extra important to do this year,” said NHD Administrator Stephen Aichroth. “The pandemic has forced these valuable front-line employees to pivot in ways we couldn’t have imagined as recently as a year ago.”
Nevada’s Governor agrees, and he notes that making it easier for teachers to buy homes inspires them to stay in Nevada in the long-term, which benefits us all.
“We know that helping teachers achieve homeownership helps cement that connection with the community,” Governor Sisolak said. “And while I know this pandemic has been hard on all of us, I take heart in knowing that Nevada’s teachers continue to show up every day for their students.”
CCSD Chief of Staff Bernier noted that Shane and Samantha have deep roots in the region, as both attended Legacy and Desert Oasis high schools in Las Vegas.
“What a really great opportunity to celebrate two people who are CCSD products,” Bernier said. He thanked them both for returning to Las Vegas after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno and continuing to work to make lives better for young people.
Sawyer Middle School Principal Mingo reflected on Shane’s commitment to his students.
“Shane builds relationships with kids every day, even in this virtual setting,” Mingo said. “We want teachers like him putting down roots in our community and staying for a long time.”
Establishing Those Roots
Shane and Samantha, both long-time Las Vegans, bought their new home in October 2020, though they were already familiar with its nooks and crannies. “We had rented it for two years before we decided it was time to buy,” Shane said.
In February of 2020, they had their eyes on a different house and were ready to close. But the pandemic hit the United States, and their deal fell through.
“We knew we had to start over,” he said. “And then we realized we were already in the right house.”
They didn’t have all of the down payment money they would need, and that’s where their lender, Amber Coleman with Guild Mortgage, and the HIP For Teachers program came in.
“The NHD program helped immensely in taking some of the pressure off of a stressful process in an incredibly difficult year,” Shane said. “Utilizing money from the grant allowed us to move forward with the home-buying process, and then everything fell into place.”
Shane said that owning a home has helped the young couple’s peace of mind, as they now have more stability. “Ownership means nobody can come kick us out, and we’re not throwing away money to pay someone else’s mortgage,” he said
He and Samantha are just as excited about the idea of other Nevada teachers taking advantage of the same program they used. “We love Nevada,” Shane said. “And it’s important for people to know they don’t have to rent, and that they can afford to buy a house.”
Are You Next?
The Home Is Possible For Teachers program was created in 2016 as a way to thank Nevada teachers for their dedication to the next generation. The program is available for licensed, full-time, K-12 public school classroom teachers with a household income below $98,500. It includes a below-market, fixed interest rate, 30-year loan, as well as $7,500 in bonus money that can be used for down-payment and closing costs and is forgivable after five years (if the teacher stays in the home).
“We are honored by both the presentation and all who attended,” Shane said. “We’re grateful and blessed to be able to strengthen our roots in our community and the state we love so much.”
Are you a Nevada teacher interested in finding a home of your own? Start by finding a lender who will discuss the programs with you that fit your specific situation. Once you know what you can afford, get your real estate agent, and start your search!