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Governor forms blue ribbon education reform task force


officialgovernorjimgibbons_sm-214x300-5470034-3525338CARSON CITY – Governor Jim Gibbons signed an Executive Order today forming the Blue Ribbon Education Reform Task Force to guide and oversee Nevada’s Race to the Top application and to facilitate public and private discussion and consensus for overall reform of public education for Nevada’s children.

“This Task Force will merge new ideas with proven methods to propel Nevada’s education delivery system to new heights,” Gibbons said, “The group will create a path to prepare Nevada’s students to be the intellectual infrastructure for our future.”

Gibbons plans to enlist the help of the public and private sector for this important project. Nevada’s state, private industry and nonprofit leaders

will work together to ensure a successful state application for the Race to the Top competition and to effect long-term K-12 and higher education reform. Experts and stakeholders in K-12 and higher education, government, technology, and business must work together as a team to ensure our education system succeeds both in educating our children and in providing the background and skills necessary for the current and future job markets in Nevada.

Well-known supporter of education and entrepreneur Elaine Wynn and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich have been named co-chairs of the Task Force. Other members include: Senator Barbara Cegavske; Assemblywoman Debbie Smith; State Board of Education Chairman Chris Wallace; Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault; Nye County School District Superintendent William “Rob” Roberts; Washoe County School District Superintendent Heath Morrison; Acting Douglas County School District Superintendent John Soderman; former Regent Jill Derby; Joyce Haldeman, Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District; DJ Allen, Imagine Marketing; Ray Bacon, President, Nevada Manufacturing Association; Pam Hicks, Regional Professional Development Program; Dr. Sonya Horsford, UNLV; Dana Lee, President, Nevada Women’s Philanthropy; Cherri Luna, classroom teacher in Clark County; Punam Mathur, Vice President Human Resources, NV Energy; Ronald Montoya, Principal, Clark County School District; Maureen Peckman, Cleveland Clinic; Karen Pedersen, classroom teacher in Lyon County; Gina Polovina, Vice President Community Relations and Government Affairs, Boyd Gaming; Michele Robinson, President, Nevada Charter School Association; Allison Serafin, Executive Director, Teach for America; Nancy Smith, Datanamics; Diane Sumner, classroom teacher in Washoe County; Alison Turner, President, Nevada Parent Teacher Association; Gintas Vildzius, Vice President Global Energy, GE Energy; and Lynn Warne, President, Nevada State Education Association.

The responsibilities of the Task Force include:

  • Providing state leadership and coordination of the Race to the Top application and ensure its timely submission by June 1, 2010;
  • Facilitating discussion and consensus among public and private stakeholders in building a knowledge base of “lessons learned” to facilitate the Race to the Top application;
  • Encouraging public and private involvement in a review of Nevada’s education infrastructure and recommendation of measures designed to ensure that we are providing a fair and appropriate education that will support the future of our state and diversification of our economy;
  • Facilitating a statewide dialogue on reform of our public education delivery system;
  • Consulting with relevant stakeholders to develop a plan to improve the results of our state’s public education system, from K-12 through higher education; and
  • Developing legislative and regulatory recommendations supporting the mission that may address, among other matters, governance, academic standards, teacher performance and resource allocation.

The Task Force will submit two items to Governor Gibbons: the completed Nevada Race to the Top application no later than May 21, 2010, and, no later than November 19, 2010, its recommendations regarding revisions to state laws and regulations relating to education reform and related funding for inclusion in the Governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

“The Task Force members have the innovation and determination to modernize Nevada’s education system and provide the workforce for our future,” Gibbons said, “I look forward to receiving the ideas and input from this talented group of individuals.”

The Task Force will have its first meeting on Friday, March 19, 2010.

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