Jack McLaughlin takes over as state superintendent
Bringing with him his parents’ legacy in education and his own dream to reach the top, Jack McLaughlin took over this month as superintendent of the Nevada Department of Education.
“It’s always been a goal of mine,” McLaughlin said. “To make the maximum contribution you can make in education is, in my mind, to be the superintendent of a state.”
His office is crowded by boxes still half unpacked and pictures resting on the floor against the walls. With the Legislature in session, McLaughlin doesn’t have much time to settle in.
“I’m eager to get into the middle of all of this and see if there’s anything I can do to push the education system forward,” he said.
McLaughlin, 59, brings to the table nearly 35 years of experience in education. Twenty-seven of those years were spent as the superintendent of California school districts in Sunnyvale, Hemet and Berkeley.
He is the oldest of nine children raised by a mother who was a kindergarten teacher and a father who started out as a teacher, then became a principal and a deputy superintendent.
McLaughlin knew he had educating in his blood.
After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in junior-high education, McLaughlin taught for three years.
While teaching, he met his wife Sheryl and together they raised four children, who have all left home. Sheryl is the state hate-crime trainer for the California Department of Education.
She occasionally has to commute but mostly works from their Carson City home.
The two bought a house in Carson City and, so far, enjoy their new hometown.
“Carson City is wonderful. It’s a great community,” he said.
He has also enjoyed working with state officials to advance education throughout the state.
“The people really work hard; they’re very committed in Nevada,” he said. “I”m really impressed with the attitude I see coming from the governor and the legislators about doing what’s right for students.
“I think they see education as what’s going to help Nevada in the future.”
But in order for education to help, students have to stay in school, and Nevada has long been known for its high dropout rates.
“Of course, we don’t want any students to drop out,” McLaughlin said. “We need to find out what’s causing them to drop out and see what we can do about it. Some schools have made significant progress toward reducing that, and I’ll be looking at how they did it.”
He is not only looking to improve education for the students but he wants to raise salaries for teaches as well.
“They are the ones that provide the education for the students,” he said. “We need to create a wage that keeps the best and the brightest in education. Paying competitive salaries is the best way to do that.”
Also high on his list of priorities is to review statewide standards and the process of testing students on those standards.
But he understands there is more to education than school.
He has coached soccer, football, softball and boxing.
“I’m a believer that education occurs 24 hours a day, not just in the classroom,” he said. “Anything that gets kids involved in wholesome activity is good. A community needs to work on an infrastructure that has a lot of youth activities.”
Mc took over for former state superintendent Mary Petersen who resigned in XXXX saying
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