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June 19, 2013
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Former teacher to lead Incline schools’ K-12 endeavor

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A former Incline Village teacher will be tasked with leading the effort to transform the community’s public schools into the flagship program for Washoe County.

The Washoe County School District recently appointed Leslie Hermann to be the district’s first K-12 administrator. Her role of overseeing Incline elementary, middle and high schools begins Monday, July 1, and meeting the community will be among her first priorities.

“I want to be able to reach out to any parent … to come talk to me about their experiences and about their visions for K-12 alignment,” Hermann said. “I have a very open-door policy — they want to work and meet with me, and I want to meet with them.”

Hermann is familiar with Incline Village, having starting her career in education teaching French and English at Incline Middle School from 1983-1990.

After teaching stints at Billinghurst Middle School and Galena High School, she spent the past 12 years as assistant principal at McQueen High School in Reno.

There, she served as Advanced Placement coordinator, helping host a yearly AP workshop for teachers in Northern Nevada and California.

She started McQueen’s Mandarin program, which eventually led to the creation of the school’s Signature Academy in Global Studies, and also helped create the school’s Freshman Academy, a intervention program for at-risk ninth-graders.

Hermann, who owns a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature and masters degrees in Teaching English as Second Language and Administration, anticipates her first year as K-12 administrator in Incline to be a busy one.

“My first initiative is to assess what’s happening in the classrooms of all three schools, and that means a lot of walkthroughs and visits, a tremendous amount of time during that first year to assess what’s in place,” she said. “It’s determining ‘what is,’ and then ultimately determining ‘what will be.’”

“What will be” is to align with the school district’s strategic plan, Hermann said, along with Superintendent Pedro Martinez’s vision to make Incline’s three schools the flagship of Washoe County.

Martinez unveiled his vision earlier this year, based on the idea of challenging students with a personalized, college-oriented curriculum while also allowing them to explore their interests and talents that could lead to a career.

“Leslie is an amazing leader who will help us realize our vision ... and who will work to ensure that Incline schools become the flagship K-12 system in the Washoe County School District,” Martinez said.

In the K-12 structure, site administrators at each school will report to Hermann — Mark Zimmerman at the high school, Sharon Kennedy at the middle school and a yet-to-be-hired person at the elementary school, where Kathleen Watty is retiring.

Hermann, who will have an office at all three schools, said she needs time to study each campus and meet with all staff before determining if changes or improvements need to be made.

“Ultimately, this is a small school, and the rules of a large school do not apply,” she said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, so what is right at McQueen might be completely inappropriate at a place like Incline.”

With a daughter entering her senior year at McQueen, Hermann said she doesn’t have immediate plans to relocate to Incline Village.

Aside from education, Hermann — a former national-ranked ski racer during her high school years — said she enjoys many of the recreation opportunities the Sierra affords, including hiking, camping and biking. She’s also an avid cook.

“I love to cook for my staff — it’s a really important part of the relationship with my teachers. I like to take really good care of them,” she said.

And like any educator, she likes to read. Her current book is “The Ten Traits of Highly Effective Schools: Raising the Achievement Bar for All Students,” by Elaine K. McEwan.

“I’m rereading it, actually,” she said with a chuckle.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 19, 2013 08:21PM Published Jun 19, 2013 05:24PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.