Washoe County School District Trustees on Wednesday confirmed Dr. Kristen McNeill as the district’s new Superintendent, putting an end to a nearly year-long search to fill the position. McNeill gained approval from all trustees except District F’s Jacqueline Calvert, who voted “nay” and provided no explanation or commentary for the decision.
Board members said they were pleased that the community’s response to McNeill’s nomination was “overwhelmingly positive.” The nomination and the subsequent virtual town hall generated more than 50 public comments since the March board meeting, along with hundreds of questions and comments for McNeill before, during and after the livestream town hall.
Trustee Andrew Caudill, who cited McNeill’s message of care and kindness as key to uplifting morale in the district, also acknowledge two points of opposition to the nomination: the early termination of the candidate search and the “COVID-19 panic move.” However, Caudill reasoned, these serve as a testament to her dedication to the WCSD.
“It’s nothing against the other candidates,” Caudill said, “but I just don’t feel that any of them would bring to the table what she brings.”
He said she’s been “walking the walk” to earn his respect and support, a contrast to prior district leadership which he said was merely “talking the talk.”
Trustee Katy Simon Holland echoed Caudill, adding that she thought McNeill was successfully changing the culture of the organization. Delaying selection of a candidate any longer, she said, would be unacceptable.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow and what it’s going to bring us because we are going to be there all together,” said McNeill in a brief acceptance speech after the announcement.
Born in 1971, Eric Marks was fortunate enough to grow up in a time and family where photography and literature were normal parts of his life. His parents were always enthusiastic and supportive of his photography as a child, and encouraged him to read and write as much as possible. From 2005 to 2012 he owned an award-winning, international, high definition video production company, and has produced video and photography in over 14 different countries on four continents. Eric majored at the University of Nevada, Reno in English/Writing and Art, graduating with English and Photography degrees in 2013, and again with an Art degree in 2018. He teaches all genres of photography at Truckee Meadows Community College, is a freelance photojournalist for several publications, and offers private photography instruction.