Candace Stowell has spent her career in city planning, but her aspiration, she said, has always been to serve on a school board.
“Cities and schools are all tied together,” she said. “If you don’t have a strong school system, you’re not going to have a strong city.”
When a position opened on the Carson City School Board, she was among three applicants. Following a public interview at the June 11 board meeting, Stowell was selected.
“I almost fell off my chair when they decided to take a chance on me,” she said. “I’m really very thankful.”
Her first board meeting as a trustee was Tuesday, and she said the new role comes at the perfect time in her life. The 54-year-old mother of a grown son has served as the Douglas County planning manager for the past year and plans to retire next week, continuing to do consulting work.
“This is the opportunity to do things I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.
Stowell has lived in Carson City since moving last year from Harrisburg, Pa., where she served as deputy director for planning.
“The minute I came to Carson City, I thought this is for me,” she said. “I’m used to living in capital cities, and I just love Carson City.”
As someone who walks and rides her bike often, she said she appreciates the recreation opportunities available in the area.
“I bike every weekend, every night. All over the city,” she said. “Thank goodness for (Carson City open space manager) Juan Guzman and all the open trails.”
Stowell is replacing Barbara Myers in the District 6 seat; Myers resigned at the end of April after serving more than half her term. Myers ousted Randy Carlson for the District 6 seat in 2010, but left her post early to care for her ailing daughter.
Stowell was selected from among fellow applicants Carlson and Michael Vanderbeck.
She said she will work to strengthen the school district.
“People want a safe, prosperous life in the city,” she said. “That includes quality education. We’re all responsible for keeping our public schools strong.”
In addition to serving on the school board, Stowell said she will seek out other ways to become involved in serving the community.
“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “It could turn out to be more important than what I’ve done in the past 30 years.”