After serving six years as vice principal of Mark Twain Elementary School, Ruthlee Caloiaro is now its principal.
“The opportunity to lead a school is exciting,” she said. “It’s what we dream of.”
She replaces Laura Austin, who had been the principal since 2007 and recently was hired as the Carson City School District’s director of English as a Second Language services.
After teaching three years at a private school in Reno, Caloiaro took some time off to spend with the two children she shares with her husband, Dave, a social worker for the state. Steven graduated from Carson High School in 2004, followed by Laurie in 2007.
In 1999, Caloiaro returned to teaching at Empire Elementary School.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go into administration because I loved teaching,” she said. “There’s not a greater joy.”
However, Mary Pierczynski, the superintendent at the time, urged her to consider it. So in 2006, she took a position as a dean of students at Carson Middle School.
“That was a really good experience,” Caloiaro said. “It was a great learning place.”
In 2007, she became the vice principal at Mark Twain, where she remained until leaving this year to take a position as assistant principal at Eagle Valley Middle School.
However, about a month into the school year, the vacancy at Mark Twain Elementary School was announced. After an extensive interview process, Caloiaro was selected for the job.
“It was like coming home,” she said. “I was so excited. You build relationships with educators, and now I get that rare opportunity most people don’t get. I get to work through that process with these people. It is a real gift to work with the staff at Mark Twain. They are a very dedicated group of educators.”
Caloiaro said she will continue Austin’s outreach to the Spanish-speaking parents and students at the school, while also working to create a cohesive atmosphere.
“I want everyone to feel a part of everything,” she said. “I want to build the camaraderie. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like or what language you speak, we’re all coming to a common place for a common purpose.”
She said the recent shift in the process of measuring accountability in Nevada schools will take some time to see consistent results, but her focus will be on achievement.
“My goal is to get every student to achieve at the highest they possibly can,” she said.
The Carson City School Board of Trustees officially welcomed Caloiaro to the position during the Tuesday meeting.
“It’s a great day for Carson City schools,” said board President Lynnette Conrad. “I think you’re going to do a fabulous job.”
It’s a great moment for Caloiaro as well.
“I get to live my dream,” she said. “How lucky am I?”