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State school superintendent announces plans to retire

TERI VANCE

Jack McLaughlin announced on Monday he will not seek a second term as superintendent of the Nevada Department of Education at the end of this year.

“I took a term and it’s been worthwhile,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it, and I hope I’ve done some good.”

McLaughlin, 62, retired in 2001 from public education in California, after more than 37 years of service there.

In that same year, he accepted the position of Nevada’s state superintendent.

He expects his second retirement to be equally productive.

“I don’t play golf,” he explained. “I’ve spent my whole life working for kids and that’s what I’ll keep doing.”

After 40 years of working in public education, McLaughlin plans to go to work in the private sector as an education consultant on a local and national level.

“I see the private side as really being able help teachers teach and students achieve,” he said. “In this day and age, maybe even more than the public side. There’s more money to go toward research and studies that the public side is lacking.”

Although he is looking forward to the next step, he is also a bit nervous.

“When you work in the public sector for 40 years, you understand it pretty well,” he said. “Going into the private side, you don’t really have that concept.”

McLaughlin is the oldest of nine children raised by a mother who was a kindergarten teacher and a father who started out as a teacher, then became a principal and a deputy superintendent.

McLaughlin began teaching junior high in 1963 and went on to teach all levels of elementary school and coach high school soccer, football, softball and boxing.

He became California’s youngest ever to receive a doctorate in Education Administration from the University of Southern California at the age of 26.

From 1974 to 2001, he served as superintendent of Sunnyvale City, Hemet Unified, and Berkeley Unified school districts.

McLaughlin said he and his wife, Sheryl, plan to stay in Carson City, where he can be close to his daughter, Jill Lufrano, a reporter at the Nevada Appeal. His son plans to move to Carson City as well.

“Nevada will be our home,” he said. “We like Carson City. All of our grandchildren will be here.”

McLaughlin, who received a praise-filled annual review last year, has encouraging words for his successor.

“Nevada really has an opportunity and desire to be a top-rate public system,” he said. “The folks working that system all really want to make it work, make it successful.”

Gary Waters, president of the Nevada Board of Education, said the board will discuss the situation at its Dec. 12 meeting, including whether to begin searching for a replacement. McLaughlin earns about $100,000 a year.

Waters said that “significant responsibility” is expected to shift to Keith Rheault, deputy superintendent of instruction.

Contact Teri Vance at 881-1272 or tvance@nevadaappeal.com.