May 24, 2012 | Back to: News

Election 2012: The race for Washoe County School Board Seat A

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — While the 10-candidate IVGID primary is arguably the most important race for locals, another seat in which Incline Village/Crystal Bay residents have a say is Washoe County School Board Seat A.

The seat, currently occupied by Dan Carne, covers the Lake Tahoe area of Washoe County, and thus, the public schooling system in Incline Village.

There are three candidates on the June 12 primary — Brian Flanner, Dale Richardson and Lisa Ruggerio. Voters will be asked to choose two of the three candidates; those with the most votes will square off in the November 6 general election.

Each of the three was given two weeks to submit a statement of no more than 1,000 words to better inform voters in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Flanner, 53, declined to submit a statement by the Bonanza's deadline.

Below are the verbatim statements from Richardson and Ruggerio, which also ran in today's print edition.

A world-class education is an absolute necessity for our children. My focus is on student achievement and ensuring that all students graduate career and college ready, prepared for the challenges in a globally competitive world. Northern Nevada must have an educated workforce to attract more diverse and stable businesses.

One of the components for having a healthy economy is having a community to which businesses and their employees/families wish to live. In my mind this means we need to have a world class school district with a record of producing a skilled workforce. If our students reach these expectations, our community will attract the best of businesses and families to live, work, and prosper here. This is particularly important for the citizens of Incline Village, who take great pride in their high achieving students. It all starts with education.

I am a native of Reno, Nevada, who graduated from Wooster High School and the University of Nevada, Reno. I have been passionately involved in my neighborhoods and community my entire life. As a small business owner who continues to be involved in the community, I am totally committed to education. I believe that education is the cornerstone of a thriving, dynamic and prosperous community, and it serves to enhance the quality of life for all citizens. I support the District's current reforms and promise to serve with integrity, transparency and accountability.

Early in my career I had the opportunity to work for the Incline Village General Improvement District and I understand your special concerns. I feel I can represent you well on the Washoe County School Board. I will work as part of a team with my fellow board members to monitor the District's educational, financial, and administrative performance using clearly defined targets as our pathway to reform. I will work tirelessly to ensure the District's image and relationships with key stakeholders will be positive and contribute to the District carrying out its educational mission.

In my work with education, I facilitated the State of Nevada's first Parent Involvement Summit; the Washoe County School District's Safe Schools Initiative, developed a national parent/community involvement model and facilitated the first strategic plan for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA). I firmly believe in the value of involving all stakeholders in discussions and decision making.

Research shows that the interaction between a teacher and a student is the primary determinant of what students learn in school. I believe the single greatest challenge facing K-16 education in Nevada today is the need for highly skilled teachers. Improving the human capital element of the education system will do far more for students who are underserved and prone to fail than changing other inputs available to policymakers today. It is critical when making policy that we embrace reforms that are research based in relation to our goal of student achievement. Professional development plays an important role — we should continue to take steps to create a culture of continuous improvement that clarifies outcomes and assists teachers in developing new ideas and strategies to improve levels of student learning.

My first priority is to maintain the momentum established in the reforms of the “Envision WCSD 2015 - Investing In Our Future” strategic plan. This five year plan, whose process started in 2009, involved the input of parents, teachers, principals, business leaders, and community leaders. It gives a clear roadmap to success for all students in Washoe County. The current strategic plan embraces continuous improvement and making data-driven decisions. We need to respond to the data, and make mid-course corrections as indicated to ensure we are meeting our strategic goals. We need to be flexible with our new superintendent but stay steady in our support of our plan, which sets forth high expectations for student achievement and strong school board governance. Incline Village Great Schools Committee's recommendations align with this strategic plan.

My second priority is to be an effective board member whose place is to be the steward and guardian of the District's values, vision, mission, and resources while being transparent and accountable in our dealings. I will achieve this by embracing my role as a guide, not a micro-manager, and to help bring the ideas and concerns of my constituents to the board's attention when appropriate. I believe we are on the right track and should continue to do the following:

a) Ensure that the budget process is open and transparent

b) Gather input from the community about the impact of budget cuts before making difficult decisions about final reductions

c) Align budget decisions to the priorities of the strategic plan

d) Instill a challenging, rigorous curriculum

e) Expect excellent leadership from all principals

f) Focus on highly skilled teachers

g) Engage the families and the community to the highest level of involvement to improve education outcomes

This is a beautiful community, one which I am proud to call my home. I believe that working together will help us all achieve the goal of a strong, vital, educated community with an amazing quality of life for us all. I am honored to be endorsed by the business community which includes The Chamber — Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada and the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors.

I look forward to your vote on June 12th and serving the citizens of the Incline Village/ Crystal Bay community.

I welcome your feedback and comments regarding our schools, please contact me at Phone: (775) 527-0199

Email: Lisa@LisaForSchoolBoard.com

Website: LisaForSchoolBoard.com

Hello, my name is Dale Richardson and I am running for Washoe County School District Board of Trustee for District “A”. I am seeking this position because I want to sustain the many excellent programs offered in our school system. I would also like to explore opportunities to implement progressive technology and educational programs that will benefit our children. I want to expand successful programs from individual high performing schools to all schools. When every dollar is precious, we need to spend wisely to ensure that we continue to provide the best education possible to our children.

I am a retired police officer and I have personal experience with the negative factors that influence student achievement. As the only candidate with children enrolled in the Washoe County School District, I can directly relate to the importance of the success and safety required for each child to obtain a top notch education.

The Washoe County School Board needs to demonstrate transparency and accountability to the public.

If elected, I believe the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees should inspire the Washoe County School District to set immediate and long term goals for student achievement. They must also acknowledge the staff for their successes in student achievement and assume responsibility when it falls short.

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustee's needs to hear our community's concerns and act in ways that demonstrate their belief in transparency and accountability. They must communicate with the public early on when addressing issues. The parents and community should have a say on the direction of the Washoe County School District because the success of our community and our children depend on their involvement. The best way to solve these tough issues is to have involvement from all of the stakeholders. I propose to use parent outreach groups, community leaders, and student councils to help resolve issues and provide the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees with input to meet the community's needs.

There are many emerging issues that the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees must address in the upcoming years:

Budget:

I believe that accountability begins at the top. I will ensure tax dollars are spent helping students. I will work with other Washoe County School District Board of Trustees to make sure we are funding from the classroom up. It is anticipated that funding will not increase and may even decrease over the next few years. When tough decisions on the budget need to be made, I will make certain these decisions will have the least impact on classroom education.

Student needs:

With reduced funding anticipated, we must have a well thought out plan to address needs in the following areas:

• Our high achieving, college bound students.

• The specialized needs of lower achieving students (e.g., improving the graduation rate, initiatives to close the achievement gap, including when English is not the primary language spoken at home).

• Reduce the dropout rate.

• The unique challenges of our learning disabled students (e.g., crafting the best Individualized Education Program (IEP) possible);

• Provide equitable services to our outlying schools (Incline Village, Gerlach and Natchez).

• I will always make it a priority that the Arts and Athletics will be properly funded.

The Washoe County School District's Envision 2015 plan addresses many of these issues; however, it does not indicate how to fund them when dollars are short. I will work with our parent outreach groups and the community to involve other stakeholders who may be able to co-sponsor programs which will provide the necessary funding. I will work within the existing budget to free up reserve funds or to cut funding to failing programs for use in successful programs.

Technology:

Technology is the future of learning. I will push for accelerated use of technology in our classrooms.

• The use of tablets (i.e. Ipad's or similar) instead of books. Loading the student's books on an iPad would make it easier for the student to get to and from school without having to heft a very heavy backpack.

• Video conferencing for lessons.

• Use of interactive boards at the higher grades.

• Use of private foundations and federal grants to support funding for technology.

Safety:

One of the priorities of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees should be student safety. Many of us have experienced or heard of the school yard fight or bullying that can occur in our schools.

I will make it a priority to ensure that all students will remain in a safe learning environment while at school and increase measures to provide safety to and from school.

I will emphasis the Walking School Bus program at all grade levels. A walking school bus is a designated stop in which either a parent volunteer or school staff member meets with students and walks them in a group to and from school.

I will push for more staff involvement during break times and before and after school to monitor student activity. Increased staff involvement will assist in early intervention before any violence or bullying occurs. I will also advocate the need for training staff and students on alternatives to bullying or violence.

I will work with School Police to provide continuous training and drills to staff and students on emergency procedures.

I will also diligently seek federal grants to improve lighting conditions and fences in our schools.

Once elected, I look forward to serving the people of Washoe County. I will work hard and be diligent about communicating the needs of our citizens directly to my fellow Board of Trustees and the staff of the Washoe County School District. My actions will ensure that each student will be provided with the tools they need to be successful in obtaining the education they all deserve.



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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 24, 2012 11:33AM Published May 24, 2012 11:29AM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.