Washoe County School District trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to name its next elementary school after the late Nick Poulakidas.
Scheduled to open in fall 2019, the school will be in the South Meadows area near the Corona Cyan subdivision on land donated by the subdivision’s developer. It’s expected to relieve overcrowding at Brown and Double Diamond elementary schools.
Poulakidas worked for the district more than 30 years as a teacher at Mitchell Elementary, Veterans Memorial Elementary, and Sparks Intermediate School. He was also a principal at Lincoln Park Elementary School. He had been honored for his commitment to education by the Nevada Parent Teacher Association and the National Parent Teacher Association. He died in 1981 while attending a conference in Ely.
Several teachers who worked under Poulakidas told the board he was a person of character, someone who got things done, and a good listener who followed through.
Other finalists were John Bohach and Ann Jones Carlson.
Bohach was an officer with the Reno Police Department for 13 years, spending much of his time as a detective in the Juvenile Crimes Division. He was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2001.
Several supporters of Bohach noted Bohach’s commitment to making sure children got justice. Bohach’s mother and daughter also addressed the board, as did Reno Police Chief Jason Soto.
Ann Jones Carlson taught second grade at Corbett Elementary School for 34 years before retiring in 1994. She has since served on various district committees. She taught in-service classes for other teachers in reading and math and has served on the scholarship committee at the University of Nevada, Reno, and as a University of Nevada, Reno Foundation trustee.
Carlson supporters noted that mentoring students has been her life’s work.
Trustees noted all finalists were deserving but opted to go with the School Naming Committee’s ranking.
“These are three outstanding people who’ve served the community well,” trustee Katy Simon Holland said.
The district began soliciting names for the elementary school Aug. 1 and more than 200 submissions of at least 80 names were received. The School Naming Committee on Sept. 6 narrowed the list to 10 and on Oct. 16, narrowed it to three and ranked them in the following order: Poulakidas, Bohach, and Carlson. However, Bohach and Carlson’s names will be submitted to the naming committee to be considered for the Spanish Springs area middle school, also expected to open in fall 2019.
Board president Angela Taylor encouraged the public to remain engaged in the school naming process.
“Stay involved,” Taylor said. “We’ve got 14 more schools (during the next 8 years) to name.”
Nomination forms asked submitters about the nominees’ role in education, how they impacted children and how they served the public. If suggesting a regional name, they were asked to provide geographic significance. Committee members then rated each submission based on one’s role in education, impact, public service, history and geographical significance, and contributions to the community.
The 11-member naming committee is made up of one district representative selected by the superintendent, seven members of the public (one from each trustee district), one high school student, and two at-large members. Terms are staggered and expire in either June 2018 or June 2019.
Funds for school construction are coming from last year’s 0.54 percent voter-approved sales tax increase. Such dollars can go only toward construction of and refurbishing of facilities. This money cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operations.
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.