Carson City school board elects officers for 2021

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At its first meeting of the year Tuesday, the Carson City school board named Joe Cacioppo, District 7, president of the board. He replaced former President Mike Walker, District 5.

Trustees Richard Varner, District 4, and Laurel Crossman, District 2, also were elected vice president and clerk. Each of the three leaders will serve one-year terms.

Additionally, Cacioppo, Crossman and Walker took their oaths of office and were sworn in as elected city officials at the Carson City Courthouse Jan. 4. Cacioppo and Crossman, elected in 2012, were both sworn in for their third terms, and Walker, who was elected in 2016, was sworn in for his second term.

It is anticipated that each elected official will serve a four-year term as trustees on the Carson City School Board.

The 2021 school board members include Cacioppo, president; Donald Carine, District 6; Crossman, District 2; clerk Lupe Ramirez, District 1; Varner, District 4, vice president; Mike Walker, District 5, member; and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch, District 3, member.

During the meeting, trustees also were appointed to serve on various committees and associations including the following for the ensuing year.

  • Director on the Nevada Association of School Boards – Mike Walker
  • Alternate director on the Nevada Association of School Boards – Richard Varner
  • Member, Carson City Parks and Recreation Committee – Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Debt Management Commission – Richard Varner
  • Partnership Carson City – Lupe Ramirez
  • Legislative Liaison – Laurel Crossman and Joe Cacioppo
  • Representative(s) to Superintendent’s Board Policy Review Committee – Lupe Ramirez and Donald Carine
  • Representative(s) to Superintendent’s School Naming Committee – Mike Walker and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Representative(s) to Superintendent’s Joint Advisory Committee – Donald Carine
  • Representative to Carson City School’s Foundation – Joe Cacioppo
  • Representative(s) to Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) – Lupe Ramirez and Laurel Crossman
  • Representative to the Emergency Operations Development Committee – Joe Cacioppo

Action also was taken to appoint trustees to serve as individual liaisons to schools within the district. Those assignments include the following.

  • Carson High School – Donald Carine and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Pioneer High School – Joe Cacioppo
  • Carson Middle School – Richard Varner
  • Eagle Valley Middle School – Donald Carine
  • Bordewich Bray Elementary School – Richard Varner
  • Empire Elementary School – Lupe Ramirez
  • Fremont Elementary School – Laurel Crossman
  • Fritsch Elementary School – Laurel Crossman
  • Mark Twain Elementary School – Mike Walker
  • Seeliger Elementary School – Lupe Ramirez
  • Early Childhood – Mike Walker

Also of note in 2021, Crossman will serve as the new president of the Nevada Association of School Boards (NASB) and Wilke-McCulloch will chair the Pacific Region of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

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. Cacioppo also has three children, all whom are alumni of the Carson City school system.

He also has served as the Nevada Section president for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2009-10, and as the Capital Branch president for ASCE, 2000-01. Other volunteer service includes C&D Committee Member, 2015 to present, for the Northern Nevada Development Authority and commissioner, 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. He also has three children who are graduates of the Carson City school system.

Varner has resided in Nevada since 1960, graduating from Yerington High School. He served two tours in Vietnam as a crew chief on a helicopter gunship and later spent 41 years in law enforcement. He maintains more than 30 years supervisory and management experience. He earned a degree in criminal justice and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy.

He began his career as a deputy for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigation Division where 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 at 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 has also 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 Chief’s Association and two years as the vice president of the California Tribal Police Chief’s Association. He and his wife have four sons and eight grandchildren, five of whom currently attend Carson City schools.

Laurel Crossman, a 1991 Carson High School graduate, has served on the board since 2012. During her first four-year term, she held the positions of member and clerk. During her second term, she served as vice president in 2016, and in 2017, she was elected school board president.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and later earned her juris doctorate from BYU’s J. Reubin Clark Law School on the same campus. She practiced law in Utah for two years. She is the proud mother of five boys, all of whom are products of the Carson City school system. She has served on various PTAs in many capacities at Fritsch Elementary and Carson Middle School and currently serves as the communication director for the Carson City Nevada Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additionally, she was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and reappointed by Gov. Steve Sisolak to serve on the English Mastery Council since 2016. She was awarded NASB Director of the Year in 2018 and recognized with the Hank Etchemendy Advocacy Award by the Nevada PTA in 2016 for her work developing a board policy regarding elementary recesses.

The Carson City School District Board of Trustees also was recognized as the 2013 NASB School Board of the Year, awarded to the Carson City School District Board of Trustees for the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement. They were also board members when the Carson City School Board was recognized as the NASB Governance Team of the Year in 2017 and the School Board of the Year in 2019.


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