Tasha Fuson had originally planned to spend her entire career in the classroom.
“I love teaching, and I love kids,” she said.
But when she saw problems at a higher level in education, she knew she could help.
“I looked around me and thought we could be doing a better job,” she said. “I decided to get my degree, and stop complaining in the cafeteria.”
It turned out to be the right move. After working as special-education English teacher for nine years in Clark County, she accepted a position as assistant principal At Foothill High School.
After three years, she moved up north with her husband, Mark, and three children, where she took over the fledgling Spanish Springs High School after working as an assistant principal at Reno High School.
With successes like rasing the graduation rates from 66 percent to 80 percent and doubling the number of students enrolled in advance-placement classes, she was named last year as the Nevada Administrator of the Year.
This year, she takes over Carson High School, replacing Ron Beck, who retired after 36 years in education and six years at the high school.
“We’re so happy to have her,” said Jose Delfin, associate superintendent of human resources for the Carson City School District. “She’s a great fit. We got one of the best principals in the state leading Carson High School, if not the best.”
Fuson said she’s eager to take the helm.
“There’s a really high level of academics at CHS,” she said. “They have a fantastic graduation rate. I’m really impressed with the number of kids who graduate and go on to college. Of course, there’s always room for improvement.”
She said that applies to the process of delivering education, as well.
“Education has changed a lot in the last 20 years,” she said. “I think for the better.”
That includes the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.
“It started holding schools accountable,” she said. “We had to look at who’s graduating and who’s not graduating and why. It was the impetus for a lot of school reform. It made us look really deep at our practices and take ownership.”
She said she likes what she sees so far in Carson City, with the Race to the Top grant and community partnerships.
“This district is really on the ball. Our teachers are rolling up their sleeves and digging in,” she said. “This is a really exciting time in education.”
It’s also an exciting time to be with students, she said.
“To me, it’s a matter of what expectations you set for kids. Do you set expectations, and do you enforce them. If you do, they will rise to them.”
She wants to inspire the community to see that as well. For the last five years, she said, she has been working to create a sense of pride at a relatively new high school. That’s not a problem for Carson High School, she said, which has a rich history going back more than 140 years.
“I see a lot of Carson pride, but is participation at school events as big as it could be?” she asked. “Is everybody bleeding royal blue, so to speak?”
“I want people to come in and see what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re doing great things. We need your help to educate your children.”
Most pressing, however, is the first day of school Monday.
“I love it,” she said. “I absolutely love kids. Summer can be a droll when the kids are gone and you sit in your office. The fact that they’re coming back is making me super fired up.”