Posts Tagged ‘state board of education’

Sandoval Appoints Elaine Wynn To State School Board

By Sean Whaley | 3:56 pm December 17th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today announced he has appointed Elaine Wynn to the state Board of Education, effective January 8, 2013.

“Elaine has long been a vocal advocate for improving the delivery of education to our state’s children,” Sandoval said. “From her service to our state as co-chair of the Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force to her continued work with students in the greater Las Vegas area, Elaine is a dedicated champion for education and I am pleased she has agreed to serve in this manner.”

Elaine Wynn.

Wynn, director of Wynn Resorts since 2000, was appointed by then-Gov. Jim Gibbons as co-chair of the Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force in 2010. The task force was created to submit a state application for the federal Race to the Top competition and make education reform recommendations to the state Legislature. Nevada did not ultimately receive funding in the competition.

Wynn is the founding chairwoman of Communities In Schools of Nevada, the current chairwoman of the national board of Communities In Schools, a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a board member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a board member of the Library of Congress Trust Fund.

Born and raised in New York City, Wynn graduated from George Washington University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She resided in Washington, DC, before moving to Las Vegas in 1967.

The makeup of the Nevada State Board of Education was changed by the 2011 Legislature as part of Sandoval’s education reform package. Until now it has been a 10-member board elected from districts around the state.

The new board as established in Senate Bill 197, beginning next year, has four elected members, one from each of the state’s congressional districts. It also has one member appointed by Sandoval and one member each selected by the Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker. There will also be four non-voting members appointed by the governor representing different public education interests.

Sandoval and lawmakers agreed to a number of education reforms in the 2011 session, including a new teacher evaluation process to ensure the best educators remain in the classroom.


Five Southern Nevada Residents Seek Board Of Education Seat In District 3

By Sean Whaley | 11:55 am June 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Five candidates, including one current board member, are seeking the State Board of Education seat in District 3 in Clark County in the June 12 primary.

The top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan race will move on to the general election in November. The board, reconstituted in the 2011 legislative session, has four elected seats. Another three will be appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and legislative leadership.

The candidates are Dino Davis, an investigative specialist with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Ed Klapproth, who teachers at the College of Southern Nevada; Debra “Sam” King, retired from the Clark County School District; Allison Serafin, who works as a special consultant to Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones; and Annie Yvette Wilson, who currently serves on the 10-member elected board and who also works as the homeless liaison for the Las Vegas police.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

The board is expected to take on a newly expanded role in Sandoval’s efforts to reform and improve Nevada’s public education system.

Dino Davis says he is independent

Davis, who has a six-year-old daughter in the Clark County School District, said he decided to run because of concerns about the disparity in the schools, some which are only a mile apart. Davis said he is not affiliated with the teachers’ union or any other education interest group.

“I’m truly independent,” he said. “I’m in this strictly for the students of Nevada and to improve their overall achievement in education. I’m passionate about education.”

Davis, who is completing a master’s degree in public administration, said his passion came late in life when his daughter entered school.

“I’ve just come to realize through my studies how important education is, and I think every student deserves that opportunity to have an education,” he said.

Davis said he supports school choice as does Sandoval, with charter schools filling an important need along with home schooling. But if the state can help create high performing schools where students can excel, choice may not be as critical for most parents and students, he said.

Davis said he isn’t sold on a voucher program where students would be able to use state tax dollars to attend private school, but that he is not adamantly opposed either. Sandoval is expected to pursue a voucher program in the 2013 legislative session.

“I’m all for some healthy competition, I agree with that aspect, it does make people step up to the plate and improve,” he said.

Ed Klapproth says he supports Gov. Sandoval’s education reforms

Klapproth said he is a strong supporter of Sandoval’s reform efforts, including a voucher program. He has worked as a teacher both in the U.S. and overseas, giving him a chance to see different education systems first hand, including those in Europe and Asia. He teaches English as a second language and is qualified in political science as well.

Klapproth said a major concern is how many students need remedial courses when they come to college.

“It’s shocking sometimes how much they don’t know,” he said. “We have a broken system and we need to make some radical changes.”

Klapproth said money isn’t the answer to improving the state’s education system. Funding is important but throwing money at the problem and creating an ever-expanding bureaucracy does not work, he said.

Teachers are over-burdened with a bureaucracy that has caused frustration and low morale, Klapproth said.

“And so I’d like to see teachers and the parents have more control over the curriculum,” he said. “I don’t believe in this one-size-fits-all education system that’s handed down from Washington, DC. We have very unique problems in our state, a unique situation, and we have to be responsive to that.”

Klapproth said he would like to see a separate track established for students who want to pursue vocational training as is done in other countries. In Japan, companies provide the money and personnel to set up training programs so they can hire highly skilled workers. Doing this in Nevada by giving corporations a $1 for $1 tax credit to do this would help diversify the economy as well, he said.

Klapproth said he would like to see more school choice, including more charter schools and some type of voucher program. He would also like to see alternative credentialing to bring more qualified teachers into the classroom.

Debra “Sam” King says Nevada needs to “change up” the public education system

King, who retired in 2009 having worked as both a classroom teacher and as the GED administrator and who put two children through the Clark County public school system, said Nevada needs to “change up” the public education system.

“Not necessarily reform, because reform always suggests that we’re doing a lot of bad things,” she said. “I do think that we need to do a change up and maybe look at what we’re doing with education.”

As to Sandoval’s education reform proposals, King said she will continue to support the public education system but that changes and improvements need to be considered, including ending social promotion.

“That’s a given,” she said. “Because we’re not doing the student any favors, or quality of life any favors in the community. The student has to get the material and learn to the best of ability so they become a productive person.”

But King said she does not support a voucher program, which faces legal and constitutional impediments.

“I do support charter schools when they are organized to fill a need,” she said.

The homeschooling program also needs to be continued, King said.

“I’m a strong proponent of both adequate and equitable schools,” she said.

King said regardless of who advances after the primary, what is important is to keep moving forward with improving public education.

“There is no quick fix,” she said.

Allison Serafin says she wants to ensure children get access to a great education

Serafin said she is running because of a belief that the board needs members with both classroom and business experience that can help create policy for schools across the state. She taught for three years at the middle school level before going to work for the superintendent.

Before that Serafin started her educational career in the Teach for America program in 2001 in Houston.

“So, for the past 11 years, my life really has been dedicated to doing everything I can to ensure that all kids get access to a great education,” she said. “And that, ultimately, was grounded in my experience as a teacher and seeing the incredible potential within all of my students.”

As to Sandoval’s proposed reforms, Serafin said it is exciting to know that he wants to “discuss what policies we can put in place to ensure that our kids, No. 1, know whether or not they are proficient and that their families know, and that No. 2, it holds all of us, the adults, accountable to ensuring that we are adequately preparing our kids.”

Whether the answer is vouchers or charters, the objective is ensuring every child has access to a great school, she said.

“I’m open to having discussions around what are other states are doing that is leading to great results,” Serafin said. “And how at the same time can we support our existing public schools in this effort.

“What our state school board needs are leaders who are going to identify problems and most importantly create innovative solutions that are cost neutral,” she said.

The state’s economic prosperity is at stake, Serafin said.

Annie Wilson says underlying issues need to be addressed to help children get a quality of education

Wilson said she wants to continue the work on the board she started after getting elected in November 2010. As a result of the 2011 legislation, Wilson said she has to run again for the District 3 seat to do that.

Wilson said she wants to deal with the problems associated with the state-required proficiency test for a student to graduate from high school. A growth model measuring a student’s progress is one alternative, she said.

“You can base the student on their growth, how much they are learning in the classroom, instead of basing everything on a proficiency test, one test,” Wilson said.

If a student is not going to pass the test, then efforts should be made to prepare for the GED, Wilson said. Parents need to know what is available in the community, including assistance that is offered by the library system, to help their children, she said.

Preparation for the proficiency test should also be offered in summer school at no charge, Wilson said.

Wilson said she does support charter schools, and would consider a voucher program depending on the details. But the voters she has talked to generally don’t support vouchers, Wilson said.

She agrees with the need to provide a foundation for children in the first three grades, but said there are underlying issues that make this a challenge for many parents.

“And the parents have to be engaged also,” Wilson said. “Right now there’s not a lot of parents engaged in education. There are a lot of underlying issues. Right now in the Clark County School District we have almost 5,000 homeless school children in our school district.”

These problems need to be addressed for these parents first, she said.

“My goal is to help the students, parents and the community,” Wilson said.


Audio clips:

Dino Davis says he is independent:

060512Davis1 :09 achievement in education.”

Davis says he has come to appreciate the importance of education:

060512Davis2 :22 have an education.”

Ed Klapproth says money is not the answer to improving public education:

060512Klapproth1 :15 just doesn’t work.”

Klapproth says parents and teachers should have more say over the curriculum:

060512Klapproth2 :22 responsive to that.”

“Sam” King says Nevada needs to “change up” education:

060512King1 :16 doing with education.”

King says social promotion helps no one:

060512King2 :12 a productive person.”

Serafin says the board needs people with classroom and business experience:

060512Serafin1 :20 across the state.”

Serafin says she has worked for the past 11 years to help children get access to a great education:

060512Serafin2 :18 of my students.”

Annie Wilson says issues with the proficiency test need to be addressed:

060512Wilson :16 test, one test.”

Wilson says there are underlying issues that need to be addressed to ensure students get a good education:

060512Wilson2 :15 our school district.”




Fifteen Apply For Nevada Top Public Schools Job As Search Process Moves Forward

By Sean Whaley | 2:05 pm January 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Fifteen people, eight from within Nevada and seven from out of the state, have applied for the job of state superintendent of public instruction.

Three of the 15 did candidates that applied by a Dec. 30 deadline not meet the statutory requirements for the position, such as having a master’s degree in education or school administration, the Sandoval administration said in an update on the search process.

The 12 eligible applications are now being reviewed and background checks are being conducted. The names of the applicants will not be released until a list of semi-finalists is presented to the state Board of Education at its meeting set for Jan. 26-27.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

Keith Rheault, Nevada’s current superintendent who will be retiring in early April, said via email that the state board is scheduled to interview the finalists on Feb. 22 and 23, voting on Feb. 24 on three finalists to forward to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his consideration for a March appointment.

Sandoval wants a new schools chief on board well ahead of the 2013 legislative session.

As a result of education reform legislation approved by the 2011 Legislature, Sandoval now has the authority to appoint the new schools chief. In the past the 10-member Board of Education had the authority to select the superintendent.

The job pays about $121,785 a year plus benefits.


Nevadans Would No Longer Elect State Board Of Education Under Proposal

By Andrew Doughman | 7:44 pm April 11th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevadans would no longer see education board representatives on their ballots if a proposal before the Legislature passes.

Assembly Bill 548, recommended by an education task force, would give the governor the power to appoint the superintendent and state board of education.

Proponents of the bill said it would drastically simplify Nevada’s current education system. The Nevada’s Promise task force members testifying today before a legislative education committee said that it would also make the governor more like the CEO for education.

“In any successful sports team, the same is true,” said Punam Mathur, vice president of human resources for NV Energy and a member of the task force. “It is clear somebody is in charge.”

The governor, with recommendations from the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the Assembly, would appoint three board members per year for three-year terms. The board would also shrink from 10 members to nine.

The governor would appoint the superintendent from a list of nominees drafted by the state board.

“We think that what we’re presenting to you has natural checks and balances in it so we can keep all the key leadership bodies in it fully involved and fully engaged,” Mathur said.

She said it makes a highly-visible elected official – the governor – more accountable to education.

Although Nevadans currently elect the state board representatives, lending those offices a degree of accountability, Mathur and others asked: How many Nevadans can name their state board representative?

Opponents to the bill said the bill would politicize the education system to the detriment of students. They also championed Nevadans’ ability to elect board members such as the Board of Regents that governs Nevada’s colleges and universities.

“Nevadans want to pick their judges just as they want to elect their state board,” said Craig Stevens, director of government relations for the Nevada State Education Association.

The teacher’s union representative said that the union liked most of the recommendations from the Nevada Promise task force. This one, however, would not necessarily help students learn more, Stevens said.

The bill enjoys support from some Democrats, although the Democratic caucus has been split over some education bills the Legislature is considering this session.

The Assembly Democratic caucus met for more than one hour before voting on education bills today, after which the vote showed several Democrats voting against the bills.

The committee took no immediate action on Assembly Bill 548.

If passed, the bill would create a fully-appointed board by Jan. 1, 2015. It would also eliminate the need for the Legislature to consider redrawing the districts voters use to elect their school board representatives. The Legislature must redistrict this year based on data from the 2010 Census.