School Board to Negotiate Superintendent’s Employment Agreement

 

Traci Davis
Traci Davis

Washoe County School District trustees declared an intent Tuesday to start negotiating an employment agreement with Superintendent Traci Davis, whose contract expires in June.

“Today is a procedural issue but it’s important,” said Joshua Hicks, outside counsel retained by the board.

President Katy Simon Holland said the board’s decision to begin negotiations doesn’t mean a contract will be approved; or if approved and presented to Davis, that she has to accept it.

According to TransparentNevada.com, Davis’ base salary is $280,000 annually and she has a total compensation package of $360,000.

During public comment, Margaret Martini told the board she thinks Davis earns too much.

“She does nothing special for a large salary and compensation package,” Martini said. “Teachers have raised the graduation rate, not Traci Davis.”

Trustee Verónica Frenkel said she hopes for a transparent conversation about expectations with respect to Davis’ performance.

“I will take a hard look at what’s appropriate given our fiscal challenges,” Frenkel said.

Others criticized the board for how it handled Davis’ latest evaluation results.

Davis in November scored a preliminary 2.67 out of 4.0 from trustees on her evaluation, meaning she was “emerging.” But after hours of discussion, the board learned it didn’t follow its own policy during the evaluation process and voted to approve an “accomplished” rating, the next level up.

At that meeting some board members, along with Davis, pointed to a lack of clarity. The rubric and metrics on which the evaluation occurred were done when the prior board was seated. The majority of the board members took office in January 2017 and could only rate Davis on a half year.

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Others noted the evaluation process wasn’t even-handed. For example, teachers who aren’t performing get notified in advance and are given time to improve. Such procedure is the same for the superintendent, although Davis wasn’t given warning prior to seeing any low marks.

Superintendent Traci Davis with kindergarten students on their first day of school. Image: Carla O'Day.
Superintendent Traci Davis with kindergarten students on their first day of school. Image: Carla O’Day.

Trustee Debra Feemster said there were a plethora of Davis supporters at the November meeting, compared to a handful of naysayers Tuesday.

“I have never seen a superintendent so visible, so engaged, in my entire career in Washoe County,” said Feemster, a retired teacher and administrator. “I’ve never heard a student act negatively to the superintendent. I was at four schools last week and I never saw anything that represented a dislike for her.”

Davis didn’t attend the meeting because she was attending an out-of-town conference.

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 360 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.