Superintendent Richard Stokes can cite statistics and test scores to show the success of the Carson City School District. But he also uses a more personal gauge.
"I believe my kids have really thrived, not only in the school district but in Carson City," he said. "There are lots of activities and lots of opportunities. Good people. We're really pleased to be here."
Stokes moved to Carson City with his wife, Keli, and four children from Hawthorne in 2001 to take the position of associate superintendent of education.
This year, he takes over as superintendent, replacing Dr. Mary Pierczynski who served in that position for seven years.
Stokes said his children Ryjul, 17, a senior at Carson High School, Jazmyn, 15, a sophomore, Madyson, 13, an eighth-grader at Eagle Valley Middle School and Cyrus, 9, who will be entering the fourth grade at Seeliger Elementary School, are excited about returning to school Monday.
"It's always exciting on the first day of school," he said. "I can see it in my own kids' eyes. They're excited to see their friends, don their new apparel and use their new school supplies.
"It's a good nervous. It's an excited nervous."
He said he can relate to that feeling, to some extent.
"It's a little different in that I haven't bought new clothes for the occasion," he said.
But there are plenty of new things to celebrate Monday, including two new principals and a new look to Carson Middle School.
As part of the $13 million bond passed by voters in 2006, an addition was built to the school, replacing the 11 portable buildings that served as classrooms for 15 years.
"The physical quality of the classroom is going to be so much improved," Stokes said. "Teachers are really hyped about the new and modern classrooms."
No longer will students need to walk outside to transfer classes. They will all be contained within the remodeled building, with a wing designated for each of the three grades.
He said voters passing bonds is evidence of the community support in Carson City, and he appreciates it.
"They also expect us to be accountable," he said.
And that may be getting more difficult as budgets are being squeezed across the state.
Although there are no major cuts planned, he said, every time a position is vacated, that position is evaluated to see if it could be left open, needs to be filled, or could be combined with another.
"We're looking at every aspect of how we do business and asking ourselves how we can be more efficient and still maintain a high quality of education for our students."
Amid all the changes, he said, one thing has remained constant.
"Our staff is professional, well-trained and highly motivated," he said.
And at least one student is prepared for the change in administration.
"I'm used to it," said his daughter Jazmyn, while waiting in line to register for classes Thursday. "It's not really going to be anything new. He was the associate superintendent last year and when we were in Hawthorne he was the superintendent there. It's the same ol' stuff for me."
• Contact reporter Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1272.
Carson High School:
• New Principal - Ron Beck: Beck leaves his position as grants coordinator for the district to assume the new role.
• New football field and track - As part of the $25 million bond passed in 2006, the high school track and football field were renovated to remedy a drainage problem.
Sitting on the bottom of the east side of town, flood waters often collected there. The new football field has artificial turf and will also serve as the soccer field. New bleachers were installed to meet seismic codes and other improvements made to make the complex compliant with ADA standards.
The first football game of the season is Friday. The following three weeks, the team will play away and in that time an all-weather track will be laid.
• Modified schedule - The mid-morning nutrition break will be shortened from 20 to 10 minutes. It will run from 9:33-9:43 a.m. The lunch break will be increased five minutes to run 11:32 a.m.-12:07 p.m. School will also get out five minutes earlier at 1:50 p.m.
• New athletic director - Bob Bateman.
• New superintendent - Richard Stokes, former associate superintendent of human resources, will take over for Mary Pierczynski.
• New associate superintendent of human resources - Jose Delfin will replace Richard Stokes.
• New grants coordinator - Sarah Adler, a former English teacher at Carson High School and intern dean at Eagle Valley Middle School, will replace Ron Beck as grants coordinator and special projects manager for the district. Beck is the new principal of Carson High School.
• Carson Middle School - A 40,000-square-foot addition will eliminate portable classrooms. The 160,000-square-foot school will have skylights in every classroom, saving 80 percent over fluorescent lights.
The three grade levels will be housed in separate wings.
• New principal at Eagle Valley Middle School - Chris Butson, former dean at Carson High School.