Trustee Ward targeted at Carson school board meeting |

Trustee Ward targeted at Carson school board meeting

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Claiming that Carson City School Board Trustee Sheila Ward placed her personal interests above those of the district’s students, Western Nevada Community College Vice President Helaine Jesse said Ward should step down.

“I will be the first to publicly ask for her resignation,” Jesse said during public comment at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Ward did not respond.

Wally Earhart, who was at both Tuesday night’s school board meeting and its contentious Dec. 13 meeting, rose to comment, but was asked by the board president to keep his thoughts on topic and not debate Jesse’s comments.

“People in the community do have appreciation for Mrs. Ward,” he said.

Ward and others in the community claim that the Carson City School District has not been teaching early American history in the district’s 11th grade U.S. history classes.

On Dec. 13, both supporters and detractors of district Superintendent Mary Pierczynski gave their impression of her leadership during her annual review. Many carried brooms to signify they felt she was sweeping the U.S. history issue under the rug.

“There is a seedy underbelly to this underlying controversy,” said Jesse, who said she came Tuesday night to speak as a member of the community. This was different from a member of the Nevada Independent Conservative Political Action Committee who spoke Dec. 13 and said he was a community member when he was not, Jesse said.

Not only did Jesse say she was disgusted that Ward’s supporters portrayed those who disagreed with them as leftists and unpatriotic, she said Ward had acted with “hubris” and “arrogance” in her position. The true issue, Jesse claimed, was a teacher who was under-performing.

“Thank God for this county that allows us to speak,” said Jesse. “We should not ever take that for granted.”

While Trustee Jim Hukari has been presiding at board meetings, a change in leadership occurred Tuesday night when board members elected Trustee Bob Crowell as president for this year.

Hukari said he considered among the many highlights of the past year to be a balanced district budget and successful contract negotiations with the various groups in the district.

The only thing he wished he had had success with was renaming the student services building after Ruth Aberasturi, its former director, who served the district for 37 years before retiring in May.

Trustee John McKenna was chosen as vice president of the board, and James Lemaire was elected as clerk. The president and clerk receive $85 stipends per meeting, and the other trustees receive $80. The board voted to continue holding their meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.