The Carson City School Board unanimously approved Karen Simms as the new principal at Bordewich-Bray Elementary on Tuesday, despite some public opposition to the hiring process.
Molly Walt, a mother of two students at the school, said she was told a representative from the school’s staff and a parent representative would be included on the hiring committee. Neither was included.
“You say you want parents to be involved,” she told trustees, “ but you only want them on certain conditions. What you’re doing right now is shutting the door on parents who have been very involved.”
Walt called on the board to direct district officials to convene a new committee and restart the hiring process.
“I ask you as elected officials, please go back to the drawing board,” she said. “Please direct staff to go back and do interviews as they said they would.”
Outgoing Principal Valerie Dockery, who is moving to the district office to take over as grants coordinator, said she assumed the hiring committee would include a parent and a staff representatives, and she told parents as much.
While committees in the past have included parent representatives, associate superintendent Jose Delfin said, the procedure has recently changed.
“It’s a rigorous process with four parts with maybe 20 minutes of traditional questioning,” he explained. “It’s a performance-based interview.”
Delfin said the presidents of the classified and teachers unions polled staffers at the school and presented their points of view.
Superintendent Richard Stokes said the process changed to become more efficient at identifying the right qualifications needed for the position, rather than involve interviews by large committees, which had been amassing up to 15 people.
School board President Lynnette Conrad said she would support Simms, the current vice principal at Eagle Valley Middle School, in the job, but would like to see a standardization of the process.
“This is a time to look at how we go about hiring,” she said. “I want there to be a set protocol. I’m hoping this makes you realize you need to be transparent in the process, and it does need to be the same at every school.”