When members of an early-morning service club told Bob Crowell in 1996 that Carson City did not need a new school -- or need to focus on education -- because it was a retirement town, he decided to run for school board.
"Something was happening in this town that I didn't like," he said. "There was an idea to abandon education issues. I don't think that's happened but it was the threat of that that got me involved."
Crowell was elected to the board that year and Tuesday he was selected to be the new president, replacing Norm Scoggin.
"I'm ecstatic," he said. "It's an opportunity to serve."
Although funding for schools is decided by the Legislature, Crowell said he would like to focus this year on the application of the money allotted.
One of the main priorities he would like to address is to reduce the ratio of students to teachers.
"I'd like to see us take a little bit more aggressive stand to see what we can do to promote class-size reduction," he said. "I don't know if having two teachers in the classroom is a wise use of resources."
Crowell, who served as the board's vice president last year, also wants to become more active in lobbying for additional funds.
"Nobody likes to raise taxes or talk about revenues but I think the time has come that we need to do that," he said. "We need to be engaged in that debate."
He said he is honored to replace former school administrator Scoggin in the position.
"I thought Norm was excellent," Crowell said. "He's a tremendous leader. He uses his knowledge of the system in a way that's not heavy-handed but helpful and explanatory."
Crowell's term is up at the end of this year but he plans to run for re-election.
"I'm a strong advocate for public education," he said. "I think the benefits of an education to our society can't be overlooked. The right to a public education is a higher form of government service than even police or fire department."
And he's a believer in Carson City schools -- where he received his education before earning a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and later a law degree from Hastings Law School.
Crowell is now an attorney in Carson City. He is also a retired Navy captain and a Vietnam Veteran.
Trustee Doug Ponn was elected to vice president and Sheila Ward was elected to clerk.
Ward's term also expires this year but she is unsure whether she will seek re-election.
Board members receive $80 per meeting and officers earn $85.
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