Fired School Administrator Allegedly Prevails Against District in Arbitration

Washoe County School District administration building. Image: Carla O'Day.
Washoe County School District administration building. Image: Carla O’Day.

Trina Olsen, the fired former administrator at Hug High School, has reportedly prevailed in her case against the Washoe County School District. An arbitrator’s decision vindicated Olsen in her defense against being fired, she said.

No additional details were provided by Olsen’s attorney.

A public records request was filed today with the school district for a copy of the arbitration decision.

The school district’s public relations team also did not respond Friday to an inquiry about the arbitration.

“Many of our folks were in meetings, and it’s difficult to get a response on a Friday,” said district spokesperson Megan Downs.

Today, the district issued this statement: “The district is reviewing the arbitrator’s decision and will make a determination upon completion of that review.”

The district went to great lengths to fire Olsen, first by ratcheting up charges against her — which Olsen said are inflated, taken out of context, or simply false — and then by taking more than a year to terminate her from the district while continuing to pay her annual salary of about $120,000.

Traci Davis
Dr. Traci Davis,
Washoe County School
District Superintendent.

Superintendent Traci Davis fired Olsen in July of this year after the school district did not contact Olsen for months about her case.

The school district’s board of trustees has declined to weigh in on Olsen’s case, saying that it’s a personnel matter that the board is not allowed to be involved with.

Unemployment Claim Approved Despite District Opposition

Olsen also, again, prevailed against the district in filing an unemployment claim after she was fired. The school district twice tried to deny her unemployment.

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School district attorney Christopher Reich appealed the state’s decision to award Olsen unemployment.

Reich, with little explanation, sent a letter to to the Nevada department of employment at the end of October claiming the state agency’s Appeals Officer, Angela Klaus, “made errors of fact and errors of law, specifically making findings contrary to the written record and statements of both the claimant and employer at (a hearing), and misapplication of the standards stated (in a Clark County School District case).”

The state, however, disagreed.

“After examining the record, the (Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation Board of Review) declines further review,” wrote board Chair Thomas Susich. “This decision is unanimous.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from the school district.

Bob Conrad
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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.

3 Comments

  1. the district should be penalized and the penalty awarded to Trina Olsen. Employers in this country have lost all respect of the employees. They continually treat employees like disposable commodities. A school district? Really? Is this what theyre teaching the youth of today? After 2 years of bare acceptable performance on her annual review and twice the pay and benefits of what the position should pay, we accept this type of leadership? Time for a district superintendent with a realistic salary for the area, no car, and the same benefits and perks that the teachers get!

  2. There is something inherently wrong with the school district that spends this much time, effort, and resources on terminating an employee that has 22years of good to great performance evaluations.

  3. I’ve worked with Trina to improve Jessie Beck Elementary School, when I was the PFA president there. You won’t find a more caring, professional, dedicated, passionate educator than Trina. The fact that she was so poorly treated by WCSD is inexcusable. Davis should be ashamed of herself, and the district should be forced to issue a public apology admitting their wrong doing.

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