CCSD trustees begin search for new superintendent

Trustees met Thursday night to determine a procedure for hiring the next superintendent for the Churchill County School District. From left are trustees Tricia Strasdin, Matt Hyde and Julie Guerrero-Goetsch, from the school board’s last meeting that accepted Summer Stephens’ resignation.

Trustees met Thursday night to determine a procedure for hiring the next superintendent for the Churchill County School District. From left are trustees Tricia Strasdin, Matt Hyde and Julie Guerrero-Goetsch, from the school board’s last meeting that accepted Summer Stephens’ resignation.

Trustees voted last week to have a special Churchill County School District meeting Thursday to determine a plan and timetable for selecting a new superintendent.

The school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the school district’s administration office at the Old High School, 690 S. Maine St. The meeting will be streamed through GoToWebinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4683484556158905695.

Summer Stephens, who has been at the helm of the school district since 2018, submitted her resignation effective June 30. Trustees voted unanimously at their Jan. 12 meeting to accept her resignation letter. Stephens told the LVN she “most likely” will move back to her native Nebraska.

“I will pursue opportunities there,” she said.

Before coming to Fallon, Stephens served as superintendent and curriculum director for Weston County School District No. 7 in Upton, Wyoming. She was also the director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at Beatrice Public Schools in Beatrice, Nebraska, for six years and taught in Nebraska before entering administration.

Trustees agreed to look into the hiring of a consultant to begin a search to succeed Stephens. One of the agenda items will examine the following aspect of the search: identify the desired qualifications and characteristics for a superintendent, the process of involving various stakeholders, the recruitment process and all other matters involved in hiring a superintendent.

Greg McKenzie of NextUp Leadership has been requested to present information regarding the search scope of work and proposed timeline in seeking applicants. Trustees may approve a contract with NextUp Leadership for no more than $15,000 (including expenses) to lead the superintendent’s search.

Trustee Kathryn Whitaker, who was one of the earliest supporters of Stephens, said the average time for a superintendent’s tenure is two years. She said Stephens dedicated five years to Churchill County with half the time consumed by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

“We had goals, (and) she made every attempt,” Whitaker said. “She worked hard to make the students successful. We are grateful for the work she did. She will be a loss for the district and a loss for the state.”

Furthermore, Whitaker said the trustees had an opportunity to serve and learn from her.

Board President Tricia Strasdin said Stephens often worked too hard to make the district successful.

“We are in a better place,” Strasdin said, adding she’s more focused on student outcome.

Trustees discussed the procure for seeking a new superintendent, Sharla Hales, the district’s legal counsel, said the board could do an internal search with the resources they have or hire a search consultant. The school district has used a consultant for the previous two superintendent searches. Trustees must also decide if they want to continue with the current progress with a new superintendent or begin a new focus.

Although the board opted to talk to a consultant about a search, several trustees expressed a concern if they should focus on hiring a superintendent who’s already employed by a Nevada school district. Since 1990, trustees have primarily hired candidates from out of state.

Trustee Matt Hyde expressed thoughts on looking an educator from Nevada and someone who’s strong in K-12 finances.

Also at the board meeting, trustees selected Strasdin to continue as president, and Matt Hyde as vice president. Amber Getto is the clerk of the board, and Whitaker will be the acting clerk.

Trustees also selected board members for other local and statewide committees.

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