Carson City School Board elects new leadership

Richard Varner

Richard Varner

At the first school board meeting of the year Jan. 14, Mike Walker was named president of the Carson City School District Board of Trustees. He replaced former President Stacie Wilke-McCulloch as the school board’s leader. Trustees Joe Cacioppo and Richard Varner also were elected vice president and clerk, respectively. Cacioppo replaced former Vice President Walker and Varner replaced former clerk Don Carine. Each of the three leaders will serve in these positions for a one-year term.

Also during the meeting, trustees approved the 2020-21 academic calendar. The calendar committee developed the schedule with the first day of school for students being Aug. 17, 2020. The last day of school will be June 3, 2021. All academic calendars detail start and end times for each school, early release day dismissal times and dates, minimum day dismissal times, school holidays, non-school days and more.

The 2020 school board members include Joe Cacioppo, District 7, vice president; Donald Carine, District 6, member; Laurel Crossman, District 2, member; Lupe Ramirez, District 1, member; Richard Varner, District 4, clerk; Mike Walker, District 5, president; and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch, District 3, member.

Walker was elected to the board in 2016. During his first four-year term, he served as a board member, clerk, vice president and now president. He earned an Ed. S. in school administration, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education from the University of Nevada, Reno and an associate’s degree from Truckee Meadows Community College.

He taught third grade at Seeliger Elementary for seven years and worked as a school administrator at Carson Middle School and Fritsch Elementary for five years. He then served as an education programs professional in the Nevada Department of Education as the state coordinator of education for homeless children and youth and a Title I program manager for two years.

He is the current principal of Sutro Elementary School in Dayton and is the president of the board of directors of Food for Thought, a local nonprofit organization that provides meals for impoverished students in Carson City through a backpack and summer foods program. While teaching at Seeliger, he also was voted Carson City’s favorite teacher in the Nevada Appeal Reader’s Poll.

After serving for more than a dozen years as a volunteer and consultant for the school district, Cacioppo was elected to his first term as a school board member in 2012. During his first four-year term, he held the positions of member, clerk and vice president. In 2016, during the first year of his second term, he was elected school board president.

Cacioppo is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a licensed civil engineer in Nevada and California. He is a principal civil engineer with the multidisciplinary consultant firm Resource Concepts Inc., where he helps oversee all engineering, environmental, survey and natural resource disciplines. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State University, Chico and has more than 25 years of experience in public infrastructure, commercial, industrial and residential planning, permitting, design and construction management projects.

He also has served as the Nevada section president for the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2009-10 and as the Capital Branch president for ASCE in 2000-01. Other volunteer service includes C&D Committee member from 2015 to present for the Northern Nevada Development Authority and commissioner from 2012 to present for the Carson City Parks and Recreation Commission. He also was honored as the 2008 Friend in Education recipient for the Ormsby County Education Association.

Varner also is in his first four-year term, and serving as clerk will be the first leadership position he has held on the school board. He has resided in Nevada since 1960, graduating from Yerington High School. He served two tours in Vietnam as a crew chief on a helicopter gun ship and later spent 41 years in law enforcement. He maintains more than 30 years of supervisory and management experience. He earned a degree in criminal justice from Western Nevada College and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.

He began his career as a deputy for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department before joining the Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigation Division in which he worked as a narcotics investigator, narcotics task force supervisor and supervisor of the Major Crimes Unit, along with numerous other positions. During his 27-year tenure at DPS, he also served as a deputy chief of the Investigation Division, deputy chief of Parole and Probation Division and retired as a major of the Nevada Highway Patrol. After retiring from the DPS, he served nine years as the chief of Police for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

He has had the pleasure of serving as a member of the Governor’s Crime Commission and the Attorney General’s Methamphetamine Task Force. He also has served as the president of the Nevada Association of the FBI National Academy Associates and served four years as the president of the Nevada Tribal Police Chiefs Association and two years as the vice president of the California Tribal Police Chiefs Association. Most recently, he was elected to serve as a member of the local Salvation Army advisory board. Between he and his wife, they have a total of four sons and eight grandchildren, five of which currently attend Carson City schools.


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