Carson City School Board District 5 Trustee | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City School Board District 5 Trustee

Steven M. Reynolds

Steven M. Reynolds

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Age: 61

Contact: 775-887-8817; steve@signprocc.com

Record of service: Trustee, Carson City School District Board of Trustees, 2009-2016; Commissioner, Carson City Regional Transportation Commission, 1999-2004; 6 years as commissioner, Carson City Planning Commission, 2004-2010; Chairman of the Board, Carson City Chamber of Commerce, 2002-2003; President, Rotary Club of Carson City, 2010-2011; Scoutmaster/leader, Boy Scout Troop 341, Carson City, 1994-2002; President, Linkville Kiwanis Club, 1984-86; US Army/US Army National Guard: 1980-1993.

Education: Diploma, Bend Senior High School, Bend, OR; Associates Degree, Central Oregon Community College; 4 years study University of Oregon, majoring in economics and advertising; hired out of my senior year by the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA.

A brief statement about your platform

I have a proven commitment to public education. Publicly-financed education remains perhaps the greatest engine driving our nation’s individual successes. Through “free” public schools, our children of every economic level have the opportunity to learn and acquire skills to improve their condition, to chase their dreams. While not perfect, we must constantly protect and seek to improve the ability of Carson City schools to offer every student a sumptuous, challenging and competitive education. I bring 44 years of business experience to the school district, including budgeting, resource allotment, planning and personnel management. In my eight years I helped implement a community-bonding Strategic Plan, helped earning an exclusive Race To The Top Grant and — perhaps most valuable — helped the District budget sensibly so our schools actually improved through the recent recession, with less turmoil and job loss than any other district in the state. As always, we face new and old challenges in our schools, which — just like the recessions — we will meet with a pro-active plan that includes the community as full partner.

What are your top three issues facing the students of Carson City School District and how do you address them?

Directing policies and limited-resources to improve student achievement and promote our District’s strategic plan, while continually recognizing that better education happens in the classroom, not at a school board meeting. For example, I’m especially excited by the curriculum changes developed by grade-level and course-centered teacher committees, and seek to maintain funding for these changes where the tires meet the road. Our move to a learner-centered approach to education is already achieving results. In a field of unbelievable outside distractions, we must focus on the tenets of our strategic plan: A community in full partnership; Engaged families; Healthy students, A relevant, rigorous curriculum; and a Preeminent faculty and staff.

Expand and support our local educator team. First, we must increase energy and resources to recruit good teachers. We’re in a nationwide competition at this point, with one hand tied behind our backs with the level of public education financing. we must get more people — inside and outside of district leadership — involved in recruitment. Carson City’s quality of life is a great selling point and there’s no reason everyone in the community couldn’t become a recruiter simply by inviting out-of-area family and friends who are teachers to take a real look at Carson City. Our employment history shows that, in general, once teachers live and work here for a couple years they’re quite likely to stay. Just as important, we must also review the job demands on our existing staff so they can find fulfillment and success in their jobs. Many changes have been pushed down to us without all of the tools, and our staff at every level has worked heroically to keep up. I believe if we dedicate just a percentage of the energy we’ve given to our strategic plan to our staffing challenges we can make an impact.

Successful, balanced education through our grades. Each level builds on the prior years: a student doesn’t enter high school prepared by successful achievement in middle school it’s almost impossible to catch up. Our kids, in every school, in every grade deserve the best we can offer. We cannot afford to ignore any of our students. There is an amazing value to a great education — to the future of our youth, their families and our community. We must improve and protect this value. I seek your support to continue the positive change and problem solving this District is known for.

Michael B. Walker

Occupation: Educator

Age: 42

Contact: mbwalknv@gmail.com; http://www.facebook.com/MikeWalker4CCSB/; MichaelWalker4CCSB

Record of Service: I taught 3rd grade at Seeliger Elementary for 7 years, worked as a school administrator at Carson Middle School and Fritsch Elementary for 5 years, and have worked as an Education Programs Professional in the Nevada Department of Education for the past year as the State Coordinator of Education for Homeless Children and Youth and a Title I program manager. President of the Board of Directors of Food For Thought; Appointed to both the Interagency Coordinating Council and the Special Education Advisory Committee for the state. I was elected Student Body President at Truckee Meadows Community College, named TMCC’s Regent Scholar in 1998, and voted Carson City’s Favorite Teacher in the Nevada Appeal Reader’s Poll while teaching at Seeliger.

Education: I attended Truckee Meadows Community College and earned an Associate of Arts Degree. I then attended the University of Nevada, Reno, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with high distinction. I later earned a Master’s Degree of Education in Elementary Education, and an Education Specialist Degree in School Administration.

A brief statement about your platform

I am running for the school board because the current board is lacking the perspective of an educator. I have experience as a teacher, school administrator, and program manager in Nevada’s Department of Education. I know first-hand how the educational system works, what it takes to effectively teach our students, and how important it is for our school board to establish a learning environment that supports our students and teachers. It will be my goal to ensure that every classroom has a great teacher leading it and the instruction being provided is of high quality. I will advocate that we move away from the scripted instructional programs that are becoming the norm in our school district, and towards empowering teachers to build lessons based on their needs of their students. Each child learns at his/her own pace and has specific strengths and weaknesses that a teacher must address in a meaningful way. This can be challenging to do when required to teach from a script.

What are your top three issues facing the students of Carson City School District and how do you address them?

The biggest issue facing students is the school district’s difficulty in attracting and retaining great teachers. We need to look closely at our working conditions and decide if there are factors that are causing our teachers to leave. Someone once told me that teachers hired in Carson City work until they retire in Carson City. They were conveying to me that I was fortunate in getting hired at Seeliger Elementary School, and it was true. Many of my colleagues at Seeliger had been there since the school opened. Why has this changed, and what can we do as a district to encourage our teachers to stay? We also need to consider if our compensation and benefits plans are adequate. It is vital that we stay competitive with neighboring school districts. Teachers and staff in this district have not had a pay increase in a very long time; however, the cost of living has been steadily increasing.

Another issue is that a number of our classes are being taught by substitute teachers. The teacher plays a major role in the success of our students. Our students deserve an education that is of high quality, and we must have the best teachers leading our classrooms. We cannot allow the education of our students to be compromised. Our resources need to be directed at providing student level supports and services, and hiring and retaining talented teachers should be a top priority.

Finally, I think unreasonable testing expectations are an issue facing our students and teachers. Assessments play an important role in the teaching process, and should be used to inform and drive instruction within the classroom. The value of high-stakes testing is being overinflated and unfairly used to evaluate both student learning and the performance of our teachers. The Every Student Succeeds Act has provided states with an opportunity to rethink how student achievement is determined, but this will require the advocacy of educators, parents, and community leaders.

My experience as a teacher, school administrator, and educational consultant will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our school board. We need the perspective of an educator on our school board as we work to tackle these challenging issues. I will be an advocate for always putting the needs of the students first and maintaining a successful school district that our community can be proud of. I would be honored to serve as a school trustee and thank you for considering my candidacy.