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WCSD Board President Beth Smith (Photo: Ariel Van Cleve for The Nevada Globe)

WCSD Trustees Guide Superintendent Hiring Process

The trustees approved a $275,000 to $310,000 base salary range for the dollar spectrum for the position

By Ariel Van Cleve, February 4, 2024 4:49 pm

During a special meeting Friday, the Washoe County School Board of Trustees made authorizations to guide the replacement process for former district Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, establishing a timeline for replacement and laying out a framework for a new contract.

Trustee Diane Nicolet emphasized the importance of gathering public feedback in the process and felt it should be done early. “They [superintendent candidates] need to know what they’re coming into—the joys, the sorrows, the anger, the pride,” she stated.

WCSD Trustee Diane Nicolet (Photo: Ariel Van Cleve for The Nevada Globe)

However, the timeline recommended by McPherson and Jacobson—the firm hired to recruit and filter candidates for the district—would have opened applications for the superintendent position nearly a week before making a community survey available.

The board ultimately directed the firm to release the public survey as early as it could but still opted to open the candidate applications without delay and as recommended on or near next Wednesday.

McPherson and Jacobson is set to select as many as five applicants for the board to consider, and trustees chose to pick the district’s new superintendent by the middle of May.

The trustees also advised representatives of McPherson and Jacobson on the qualities they sought for the future superintendent.

Board President Beth Smith told The Nevada Globe that “what the community will hear from me is that I’m looking for a leader that has service over self—someone that is committed to the Washoe County School District; and I’m also very interested in someone that can take big ideas, but actually execute them through the process because that’s really important.”

She continued, “It’s one to have a great vision, and it’s a second thing to actually build that vision out into a series of steps so that we see the results we want from that vision.”

WCSD Trustee Colleen Westlake (Photo: Ariel Van Cleve for The Nevada Globe)

The school board expressed a similar vision to Smith’s; for it placed leadership experience, commitment to the district, tenacity, and results-orientation among its priorities for the next superintendent in the discussion and vote that followed.

Trustee Colleen Westlake noted that she wants a candidate whose “desire, right now, is to be part of our community and their aspiration—the . . . upmost, number one aspiration is not what they’re trying to aspire to but what they’re trying to get Washoe County School District to aspire to and to achieve.”

Lastly, the trustees approved a $275,000 to $310,000 base salary range for the position; a term length greater than one year for the new contract; and a requirement for the next superintendent to establish a permanent residence for his household within the county.

The board further opted to consider longevity incentives and a relocation reimbursement as options in its future contract negotiations with the winning applicant.

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Ariel Van Cleve
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