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School district superintendent announces June retirement


Washoe County School District Superintendent Kristen McNeill announced Thursday afternoon that she will be retiring at the end of the school year, June 30, 2022.

“I am sure most of you will understand that this is an extremely difficult decision for me, as I truly love and cherish the Washoe County School District,” McNeill said, calling the decision bittersweet.

McNeill has been with the district for 29 years. She started with WCSD as a teacher. She has also been a school principal, grant writer, chief of staff and deputy superintendent.

“After as many years as I have, I have earned the privilege to say ‘my’ school district, and I am very, very proud of that,” she said.

She praised her leadership team, the board of trustees and board President Angela Taylor, all of whom were informed of her decision shortly before the announcement was made public. 

McNeill said it resulted from months of conversations with her family.

McNeill said her decision to retire was not influenced by the vitriol that has been hurled toward her and the board throughout the pandemic by people touting conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 virus and mitigation efforts meant to curtail its spread.

“During my time as the superintendent, our district, as well as other districts across this country, have faced extraordinary circumstances due to the pandemic,” McNeill said. 

“However, I want to stress that that is not the reason why I’m retiring. It’s just quite simply the right time for myself and my family.”

McNeill said she expects the person tapped to fill her role will be able “to hit the ground running” with a strategic plan in place. There is a possibility that a new superintendent could be chosen prior to the effective date of her retirement.

“Until my retirement, though, we have a lot of work to do… My focus will remain on our district and what we have planned to do for the remainder of this year,” she said. “There will be time for reflection and, I’m sure, commentary on my term as superintendent—but, for now, we’re going to keep working.”

The board of trustees will have to make plans during public meetings for her replacement. A private search firm will need to be hired.

Taylor said the district appreciated the “advanced notice” from McNeill and will have time to do a national search for McNeill’s replacement prior to June.

An agenda item will be placed on a future board of trustees agenda to begin the process.

“Though we are very sad to see her go, we are excited for her to be able to spend more time with her family, and we really do wish her well in her retirement,” Taylor said.

Neil Rombardo, chief legal counsel for the district, may also be leaving WCSD. 

He announced during public comment at a Nevada System Higher Education Board of Regents meeting on Thursday that he is a semi-finalist for the position of chief of staff and special counsel to regents. The candidate search was announced in June. He is awaiting an interview with the board of regents to see if he will be named as a finalist.
The position was vacated after the previous legal counsel retired after criticism for scolding a regent during a meeting, accusing her of “child speak.”

Jeri Chadwell
Jeri Chadwellhttp://thisisreno.com
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.




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