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School District Rejects Educator’s Application to Substitute Teach


Paul White speaking at the Reno Elections rally in October 2018. Image: Ty O’Neil.

The Washoe County School District issued a community request earlier this month for desperately needed substitute teachers. “[The district] has a serious shortage of guest teachers (substitute teachers) for the remainder of the school year,” district spokesperson Victoria Campbell announced April 8.

Campbell went on to say that 400 subs are needed on any given day, and WCSD has a daily shortage of 80 substitute teachers.

One local educator applied for the job but was turned down.

Paul White, who was behind the controversial Reno Elections effort last year, said he is more than qualified to be a substitute teacher — even a superintendent.

“I have an administrative credential that allows me to lead any K-12 school, and also to serve as a superintendent or in any other central office position,” he told ThisisReno. “I have a teaching credential to teach any subject at any grade level self-contained, and an extra authorization to teach English only up through high school.”

White’s credentials are in California where he founded the West Valley Leadership Academy, an alternative charter school for at-risk students. The academy was closed by the Los Angeles County Office of Education due to budget issues and reduced enrollment, according to reporting at the time.

Prior to that, he was a public school teacher.

His tough-love approach to education garnered him a profile in People Magazine / CBS News as part of a “Heroes Among Us” series. White is also the author of the book “Whites Rules: Saving Our Youth One Kid at a Time.”

Paul White was featured in 2007 by People Magazine and CBS News for his ‘tough-love’ approach to education.

He also penned an opinion for the Huffington Post titled, “Stun Guns: At Last! An Effective Parenting Tool for Unruly Teenagers.” The titled stemmed a mother recounting how she improved relations with her abusive adolescent son: she bought a stun gun and threatened to use it on him.

White’s response: “I don’t recommend this type of X-treme Parenting. But because I know this woman’s son and countless others just like him — and what they’re capable of doing, I can’t condemn this mother’s concern for her personal safety.”

White is also a Christian Scientist and offers religious-based teaching and youth/parent support at his south Reno Stronghold Institute.

District Denial

His application to substitute teach was denied by the district on April 9, 2019, soon after the district issued a call for substitutes.

“As a public organization dedicated to the service of our community’s children, we must carefully consider the suitability of all applications,” wrote the district’s HR chief, Emily Ellison. “We have reviewed your application and information available to us in conjunction with your application for employment and have determined that we will not be moving forward in considering you for hire.”

No reason was given, but White’s noted outspokenness may have had something to do with it. He’s been a vocal critic of Superintendent Traci Davis.

“I was very plain with WCSD regarding my desire to get (and publicly share) an impartial, firsthand look at what actually is going on inside the schools, and it scares them to death,” he said. “Until someone in authority is willing to play a WHOLE lot tougher with Traci [and friends] in regard to demanding information and allowing first-hand, unrehearsed classroom observations, they will continue to dominate the community, under-serve our children, and create a future legacy for the County that will be ruinous.”

White said he’s considering his options to respond to the district.

A school district representative said that WCSD could not respond to a personnel matter.

“It would be unprofessional and, frankly, unfair for the District to comment on such individual personal matters as to why someone may not receive a position with the District,” said spokesperson Megan Downs. “As a result, as with all of our employees, including prospective employees, this is a confidential workplace matter and the law, as well as public policy, prohibits us from commenting further.”

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.