Churchill County School Board trustees take their final group photo together. From left are Superintendent Summer Stephens, and trustees Kathryn Whitaker, Fred Buckmaster, Gregg Malkovich, Carmen Schank, Matt Hyde, Tricia Strasdin and Amber Getto.
Members of the Churchill County School board and district administration recently thanked two trustees who are leaving public service.
Carmen Schank, who was born in Churchill County and attended schools here, retired more than a decade ago from teaching music, art and third grade after a 20-year career. After both her parents died, the school board had a vacancy.
Trustees appointed Schank to the school board in January 2012 to fill the remaining year, and she was elected to a two-year term later that year. Schank said she became a trustee when Carolyn Ross was superintendent.
“We were renovating the Old High School,” she recalled, adding her first meetings were conducted at the former district office bordering Oats Park.
During her tenure, Schank said there have been many challenges, but she credits her colleagues for ensuring the students receive a good education.
“It’s been an honor to serve the community, and I appreciate your trust, and I’ve done my very best. I’ve been true to myself.”
Former trustee Richard Gent thanked both Schank and Fred Buckmaster for their service. Gent, who served for 12 years before being termed out, commended them for their dedication to the students and school staffs. Gent served with Schank for two terms.
Schank said she has enjoyed working with her colleagues.
“I appreciate the board,” she said. “We have a good board.”
In 2018 when she ran for re-election, her goals were safety first, high expectations in academic achievement and growth for all students, fiscal transparency and accountability, parent and community involvement and best practices in the implementation of technology, personalized and blended learning and character building.
Buckmaster is also a former teacher, having taught vocational education at Churchill County High School. When he sought his first term more than four years ago, he said, “I do not feel I am the ‘most’ qualified, (but) I do feel I am qualified to serve in this capacity. I have been involved in education my entire life in one aspect or another. I feel my common sense approach to education will be very helpful.”
The Churchill County native comes from a long line of educators. His father, Lou, was a teacher, administrator and trustee, while his mother, Jan, taught in the elementary grades. A sister, Kathy, teaches secondary English.
“I want to thank the board and constituents who elected me to the board,” Buckmaster said.
He characterized the past four years as a little trying, a little frustrating. Buckmaster didn’t seek another term, though, not because his term on the school board but because he and his wife bought a ranch in Eureka County.
Buckmaster said he may run for the Eureka County School Board.
“I enjoyed this,” Buckmaster said about his tenure as a trustee. “I enjoy public service. People who have an interest in doing this should step up and do it.”
Schank and Buckmaster were advocates for Career and Technical Education. Buckmaster said in 2018 he wanted to be a strong voice for the CTE program and credited his experience in the classroom. Buckmaster said he would research the issues and talk to people and be a productive part of the school board.
Schank said prior to her third term factors affecting the school district included the quality of education and academics, parent engagement, technology and the Character Counts program.
Colleagues thanked Buckmaster and Schank.
Trustee Matt Hyde said Buckmaster and Schank were involved with streamlining the board’s focus. Board President Tricia Strasdin commended both individuals and thanked them for both their teaching and school board careers.