This week many in the community are mourning the passing of Ben Hayes, who passed away Sunday, March 21, unexpectedly, but peacefully, according to a statement from the Washoe County School District.
Hayes served for two decades with the district, most recently as chief accountability officer. His other roles within the district were as a grant evaluator and accounting and assessment director. He helped to create the district’s research and evaluation department, which focuses on using data and research to support the district’s decision-making. He also spoke to regional and national audiences about accountability and data literacy in education.
Hayes graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology.
In a statement released today, district officials said, “He was, first and foremost, an advocate for children, ensuring their voices were heard throughout all decisions that impacted the District…Ben’s guiding principle was always to do ‘what’s best for kids.’ He leaves a gaping hole in the District and in the hearts of all those he touched.”
In addition to working for the school district, Hayes was active in the community. For the past four years he was on the board of directors of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, volunteered in the organization’s warehouse and was active with the CANstruction event.
Hayes leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Tanja, along with three children: Liam, 18, Kajsa, 16, and Luke, 15. WCSD notes details are forthcoming for a public celebration of life event.