Evaluation: Carson City schools’ superintendent ‘exceptional’ during COVID | NevadaAppeal.com

Evaluation: Carson City schools’ superintendent ‘exceptional’ during COVID

By Jessica Garcia jgarcia@nevadaappeal.com
Richard Stokes

Carson City School Superintendent Richard Stokes received a “very satisfactory” rating from the Board of Trustees on his annual evaluation Tuesday, with trustees acknowledging the difficulties that have come since COVID-19 first presented in March.

Board members called Stokes “exceptional” and a “calming influence” for staff and parents concerning student achievement or in matters of high stress in the past eight months since the pandemic took hold and changed how the district began to operate from in-person to distance learning.

Trustees each completed an evaluation form and returned it to executive administrative assistant Renae Cortez who tallied the averages and included comments on various categories, scoring him from 0 to 4, or unsatisfactory to superior. Cortez then averaged the scores.

In all, Stokes totaled 37 out of a possible 40 points.

The board thanked Stokes for previously offering to extend his contract with the district. Had he chosen not to, the recruitment of a new superintendent among the year’s current circumstances likely would have compounded the year’s trials, trustees agreed.

“I can’t imagine going through this year with a new superintendent,” board President Mike Walker said. “We all know there’s room for growth as an educational institutional. If we’re not lifelong learners, we’re not going to be successful. I think last year, Mr. Stokes made some ambitious goals and was ready to embark on those, and then COVID hit.”

Walker said since then, Stokes has been on “the hot seat” making sure students, parents and staff are well served.

Trustee Lupe Ramirez also noted the district’s student demographics have changed across time, with an increasing Latino population and a greater need to provide more resources for Spanish-speaking families moving to Carson City, such as translating board meeting agendas from English into Spanish to keep families engaged at board meetings.

“You have made progress in diversifying the paraprofessionals pool, and I thank you for that,” Ramirez said. “I’d like to recommend that we continue making efforts diversifying the staff in other critical positions. I also want to thank you for the tremendous enhancement with the communication method recently implemented. The Parentsquare (platform) is almost a wish come true in my opinion.”

Stokes thanked the trustees, his administration and the school principals and teachers for their daily leadership, support and their efforts.

“Thanks to each of you for your kind words,” Stokes said. “It would be difficult, I think, to do this job, even more so if we had a fractured board of some kind, but we don’t. It’s really an honor to serve with each of you and know each of you have the best interests of our students and our community at heart.”

The board approved Stokes’ evaluation in a unanimous vote.