CCSD's Summer Stephens offers resignation

Summer Stephens.

Summer Stephens.

When the Churchill County School District’s board of trustees meet Thursday for their first meeting of 2023, they will be facing a situation they weren’t planning on.

Summer Stephens, who was selected to become superintendent in 2018, is resigning her position effective at the end of her contract year on June 30. She said most likely her family will be moving back to their home state of Nebraska where she will pursue new opportunities.

Stephens, who was recently named the state’s superintendent of the year, said she wouldn’t comment on the resignation until after the board accepts it at their meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Churchill County School District Administrative Office (Old High School).

“We have been so blessed in our time in Fallon, and am so grateful for your investment of time, energy, and commitment as a community to ensuring that we can have a learner-centered focus,” Stephens said in an email to the Lahontan Valley News. “The work is not finished, and I believe that our team will continue to develop skills and strategies to improve academic performance, social-emotional development, and improved communication and family engagement.”

Trustees will now discuss a plan for hiring a new superintendent to include the characteristics desired in a new superintendent, timeline, strengths and challenges of the school district, community/staff input, other process concerns, professional consultant assistance, a superintendent search committee, open meeting law considerations, recruitment and all other matters related to the superintendent search process.

Stephens reflected on her work with the school board. She said the administration and trustees began “strategic planning processes together, weathered the pandemic, devoted deep care and attention to developing excellent relationships with learners and with each other and look to the future of what learning can be in this district.”

Furthermore, Stephens said it has been gratifying to see how the system has transformed during the past four-and-a-half years. She said there is much more future growth.

In September, the Nevada Association of School Superintendents named Stephens as the state’s 2023 superintendent of the year. They cited her collaborative work during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020-21 as a major reason for her recognition. She will compete for the National Superintendent of the Year during the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education in February.

Jesus F. Jara, NASS president, said Stephens led the state’s superintendents through a transition period: pandemic to full-time, face-to-face instruction.

Last year was also special for both Stephens and the community. Both school districts in Churchill and Mineral counties received the first district-wide Purple Star School Designations in Nevada. These honors were awarded in recognition of each district school being named Purple Star Schools. According to the NDE, schools receiving this award have committed to supporting the unique educational and social-emotional needs of military-connected children.

The Churchill County schools were recognized for supporting the unique educational and social-emotional needs of military-connected children.

Just last month Stephens conducted a roundtable on Career and Technical Education courses offered at the high school and the importance of these classes on today’s students.

Stephens said it’s important to think about the future and how postsecondary education can meet those openings. She added the school district has done a good job with its offerings of CTE classes.

Prior to coming to Fallon 2018, Stephens was the superintendent and curriculum director for Weston County School District No. 7 in Upton, Wyoming. During her career, Stephens also was the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment at Beatrice Public Schools in Beatrice, Nebraska, for six years. She was also a high school teacher in Nebraska.

Stephens earned her doctorate degree in in Education Administration and Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a bachelor’s degree in English/language arts and master’s degree in Educational Administration, both from Doane (Nebraska) College.

Trustees had selected Stephens as their new superintendent for her many skills and traits, such as passion for community and military base involvement and connection with staff and students on site.

Stephens expressed her desire to establish connections with the community, such as with the Fallon Chamber of Commerce, city council, county commission, and economic development. She serves on the Churchill Entrepreneurial Development Association’s board. She also took an active role with Churchill County Social Services and the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, which has extended its reach into rural Nevada with books and reading programs.

Not only has Stephens spent time with K-12 programs, she has also worked together with the Fallon campus of Western Nevada College in examining the future of education.


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