Born and raised in Las Vegas, Lisa Cano Burkhead is a first generation American Latina who has spent her life educating Nevada’s kids. Her parents came to Las Vegas in 1965 to give their children a better life and secure the American dream. Her father worked his way up through Las Vegas casinos, starting as a porter and later becoming a black jack dealer. Her mom started at Hudson cleaners before becoming a seamstress at the Las Vegas Hilton where she worked on a variety of shows, including Elvis and Gladys Knight.
Though her parents only had an elementary level schooling, they implanted in Lisa the value of education as the one investment you can make in yourself that will pay off for life. While a 9th grade student at KO Knudson, the principal asked Lisa to help two new students from Ecuador learn English since the school didn’t have the resources to provide English Language classes. The experience helping her peers learn English and the inspiration instilled by her parents set her on a course to make education and education advocacy her life’s work.
After graduating from the University of Redlands, with a double major in English and Spanish and her teaching credential, Lisa returned to Nevada to teach. She spent a decade teaching English and Spanish in Clark County schools before becoming the Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at Eldorado High School. Always focused on how to bring out the best in her students, Lisa worked with students and parents in-and-out of the classroom to develop leadership skills, enroll in AP and enrichment classes and prepare them for the real world so that they would be ready to get good jobs or start their own businesses.
Lisa spent several years as chief of staff to Northwest Region Superintendent Richard A. Carranza, before returning to Fertitta Middle School as a principal. For the past six years, she served as principal at Foothill High School and instituted critical reforms to help turnaround the school and improve education. As principal, she had to balance tight budgets and use resources wisely. From hiring teachers to investing in extracurricular programs and buying school supplies, she spent everyday prioritizing investments that would benefit students.
She was named the 2008 Nevada Association of Student Councils Administrator of the year and, in 2016, was awarded the prestigious Public Education Foundation’s Best in Class Award for School Leadership, which honors high performance, strategic thinking and innovation. Throughout her career in education, Lisa worked to bring people together with different perspectives and build a community that made parents, students and educators proud and productive. Lisa knew that Nevada businesses and Nevada’s future depends on well-educated students and she worked tirelessly to make sure her students were prepared to succeed.
In 2021, after 25 years as an educator, she retired from the Clark County School District but that hasn’t stopped her from serving the community and making education a foundational element in children’s lives. She currently teaches educators on how to better connect with students and build classrooms that fosters learning and, as Lt. Governor, will serve as a public advocate for education.
Lisa and her husband Jeffrey live in Henderson and she serves her most important role as mother to three daughters, Taylor, Raquel and Sofia.