Hundreds of people turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Michael Inskeep Elementary School in the Cold Springs area. The school will help alleviate overcrowding at Gomes and Silver Lake elementaries—the Washoe County School District’s (WCSD) most overcrowded elementary schools.
“We are so excited to be able to open up our school,” said Principal Sue Egloff. “And what’s really precious is we are the sixth school, but we are the first one to be able to do the ribbon cutting before our kids arrive on Monday. That is huge, especially during a pandemic.”
Everyone in attendance gathered in the multi-purpose room following the ribbon cutting to hear from district officials and Inskeep’s family and friends prior to taking tours of the building.
WCSD Superintendent Kristen McNeill told media members assembled for the event that thanks to the passage of the 2016 WC-1 ballot question—which raised taxes in the county to fund the district’s capital improvement projects—a total of six new schools have been built.
“It is a great thing,” she said. “It is a great thing for our school district.”
The school has 28 classrooms; a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) lab; three “hub spaces” for collaborative learning; and built-in security measures like a single point of entry and a secure perimeter. It also has energy-efficient design features, including a geothermal heat exchange system, solar energy and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Inskeep Elementary has a 682-student capacity.
School name honors former educator
Egloff called it an honor to be the principal of a school named after Inskeep, who was a teacher in the district for more than 15 years. He taught math and social studies and spent the majority of his career at Cold Springs Middle School. Inskeep passed away suddenly as a result of a blood clot during a routine knee replacement surgery in 2017. He lived with his family in the North Valleys and was active in the community as a volunteer firefighter and coach.
Egloff said she had the opportunity to meet with Inskeep’s widow, Geri Inskeep, nearly a year ago to learn about the man for whom her school is named.
“It’s so honoring to me that so much of his teaching philosophy matches with my own and matches with my staff’s. It is our goal to carry on his legacy for years to come,” she said.
McNeill addressed the families and future students of the school, telling them they would “soar to new heights.”
“It is going to be amazing—amazing,” she said. “You have a beautiful, wonderful leader. You have a dedicated, loving staff that is going to love you and circle you in their arms. So, I just want to tell you, on behalf of myself and our trustees, you all are going to have an amazing time here at Michael Inskeep Elementary School.”
Geri Inskeep said her late husband would be very pleased with the new school because it relieves overcrowding, reduces travel time to and from school for children, is energy efficient and is named in his honor. She and other speakers said his spirit was watching happily from the afterlife.
“I think he is also really happy because his name represents a teacher in this school district,” she said. “Mike wasn’t the best teacher in Washoe County, but he was one of the better teachers in Washoe County—and he always strived to be as good as he possibly could. He was passionate about his job. He loved his students, and he always wanted to be a teacher—and when he became a teacher, he was committed to that.”
In 2020, the school board of trustees decided to name the school after Inskeep because of his longtime connection to the Cold Springs community.
“I join with my fellow Trustees in congratulating the family of Michael Inskeep,” said then-WCSD Board President Malena Raymond. “He was beloved in the Cold Springs community for his dedication to all children, and it was our pleasure to bestow his name on this new school that will serve generations of children in Cold Springs in the future.”
Jeri Chadwell came to Reno from rural Nevada in 2004 to study anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2012, she returned to the university for a master’s degree in journalism. She is the former associate and news editor of the Reno News & Review and is a recipient of first-place Nevada Press Association awards for investigative and business reporting. Jeri is passionate about Nevada’s history, politics and communities.