7 Questions for Superintendent Candidates

7 Interview Questions for Selecting the Best Possible Superintendent

For the third time in 5 years, Washoe County School District needs to hire a new superintendent. In choosing their last 3 superintendents, tens of thousands of dollars were spent on “excellent” search firms, and yet each candidate the School Board Trustees selected was worse than their predecessor.

For the sake of our children’s and our county’s future, this pattern must be broken.

Listed below are 7 interview questions guaranteed to immediately identify which superintendent candidate would provide the best leadership for solving our schools’ most urgent problems.

Any candidate failing to wholeheartedly answer “Yes” to ALL seven of the questions should be immediately dropped from consideration because he/she would be incapable of providing the strong, committed moral leadership that WCSD needs to “fix” its thoroughly broken schools.

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ISSUE #1:

Getting Students to Consistently Attend School

  • 30-to-60% of WCSD students don’t attend school on any given day. Until this issue is successfully addressed, effective teaching and learning will remain almost impossible.
  • NRS directs school districts to refer chronically absent students AND THEIR PARENTS to the local police and juvenile court. Students and their parents will receive a mandatory court appearance and be fined. Student driver’s licenses will be suspended and community service hours will be mandated. Consequences will escalate until the student begins to attend school consistently.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately eliminate WCSD’S ineffective School Attendance Officers, Policies, and Attendance Committees and simply enforce the NRS law regarding chronic absenteeism?

ISSUE #2:

Stopping Epidemic Drug-Alcohol Abuse on Campus

  • Half or more of WCSD’s secondary school students use drugs/alcohol on campus and in their classrooms every day. Until this issue is successfully addressed, effective teaching and learning will remain almost impossible.
  • Nevada law makes possession, sales, or use of any controlled substance on school campuses a felony offense.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately eliminate WCSD’s ineffective, in-house handling of its drug/alcohol problem and replace it with:

  • Filing charges with local law enforcement against ANY student violating Nevada law regarding possession, sales, or use of ANY controlled substances on school property
  • Suspend all violators, and transfer repeat violators to indefinite home study
  • Immediately implement a voluntary, fully-transparent drug-testing program with ALL students

ISSUE #3:

Stopping On-campus Student Violence

  • Severe student violence is increasing. It has included: multiple assaults on other students, teachers, and other school personnel, gang fighting, riots, armed robbery, credible death threats, theft, extortion, group beatings, use of deadly weapons, sexual assault including multiple rapes, and even a related off-campus murder. Until this issue is successfully addressed, effective teaching and learning will remain almost impossible.
  • Nevada law makes involvement in ALL such behavior a felony-level crime.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately eliminate WCSD’s ineffective in-house handling of felony-level crimes and replace it with:

  • Pressing charges with local police against ALL student perpetrators of felony-level offenses, and having them arrested
  • Immediately and permanently banning ALL perpetrators of felony-level offenses from ALL WCSD campuses and placing them on home study programs

ISSUE #4:

Stopping Major Verbal Abuse and Threats Toward Staff by Students

  • Students’ verbal abuse, threats, and major disrespectful behavior toward staff has reached an intolerable level. It is driving staff members out of our district and destroying the learning environment. Until this issue is successfully addressed, effective teaching and learning will remain almost impossible.
  • Nevada statutes make such behavior a violation of state law, and empower school districts to have no tolerance for such behavior.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately implement a policy providing:

  • ZERO tolerance for verbal abuse and disrespectful behavior toward staff
  • Immediate suspension for first-time behavior of this sort and mandatory parent conferences before students return to school
  • Indefinite transfers to home-schooling for students who continue this behavior

ISSUE #5:

Providing Transparency

  • WCSD currently has policies that prevent parents, responsible community members, and the media from authentically observing school operations. These policies prevent school employees from publicly reporting unacceptable campus situations that they observe.
  • Parents and the community are unaware of the increasingly dysfunctional, decadent, and dangerous state of our schools.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately act to:

  • Remove these policies
  • Support unannounced classroom and campus visits
  • Mandate full transparency and freedom for school employees to speak freely regarding all parts of the school day

ISSUE #6:

Address academics!

  • 60-85% of WCSD students graduated from 12th grade are functionally illiterate
  • Student grades have been manipulated for years to hide this fact
  • A majority of the diplomas awarded to students are nothing more than attendance certificates.

Candidate Question:

Will you immediately act to correct this situation by:

  • Eliminating the Credit Recovery program
  • Requiring ALL students who receive diplomas to pass the 12th grade Exit Exam
  • Eliminating the “Attendance Certificate” diploma that requires virtually NO proof of ANY level of academic achievement

ISSUE #7:

The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Nothing has done more to maintain low-level achievement by Black and Latino students, foment false claims of racism, promote anti-American teaching, encourage students to abandon moral values, and support aberrant sexual behavior than the DEI Department policies.
  • DEI’s focuses on giving students excuses for failing rather than finding ways for them to succeed. It encourages lowering standards rather than working harder to achieve legitimate success. DEI blames Black and Latino students’ lower achievement levels on lack of opportunity and racism, rather than holding these students and their parents accountable for their own lack of effort and achievement.
  • Additionally, the DEI Department has made students’ personal sexuality choices a major part of WCSD’s focus. This misguided policy’s impact on the students in question, and on the entire school district has been nothing less than disastrous.

Candidate Question:

Will you IMMEDIATELY act to completely disband WCSD’s DEI Department, cancel its policies, and put renewed emphasis, district-wide on:

  • The unlimited support and resources that are currently available to ALL students who wish to be academically successful.
  • Communicating that whereas students’ sexual preferences and identification are their personal choice and will be respected … those choices will have NO place in the schools’ curriculum, classrooms, duties, activities, and behavioral standards. Students will be identified by their legal names, and utilize bathrooms, locker rooms, and participate in athletics based on their biological sex.

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Students in WCSD schools are PROVABLY:

• Not LEARNING • Not SAFE • Not in a MORAL ENVIRONMENT

What possible reason does ANY parent have for entrusting THEIR children to this dysfunctional, dangerous, and decadent system?

by Paul White

(The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Nevada Signal.)