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November 25, 2015

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School Board member endorses interim chief Skorkowsky as next superintendent


Paul Takahashi

Clark County School Board President Carolyn Edwards, left, and Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky answer questions from media.

Click to enlarge photo

School Board members Erin Cranor, right, and Chris Garvey during a Clark County School Board meeting at the Edward Greer Education Center on East Flamingo Road, May 16, 2012.

Clark County School Board member Chris Garvey officially announced her support for hiring Pat Skorkowsky as the next superintendent overseeing the Las Vegas school system.

"This trustee's common sense tells her that we have our superintendent already," Garvey said. "I will support Pat Skorkowsky as superintendent."

Skorkowsky, a 25-year veteran educator, became the interim superintendent of the nation's fifth-largest school district last month after Superintendent Dwight Jones announced his resignation unexpectedly. Jones cited personal reasons for leaving the district a little more than halfway through his four-year term.

School Board members are now wrestling with whether to conduct a national search for its next superintendent.

Garvey praised Skorkowsky during Thursday's School Board meeting, saying he has the "background and knowledge" to lead the School District.

"He's tied to the community. He's demonstrated the skills," Garvey said. "He knows us warts and all and he's still with us."

Garvey's support comes less than halfway through a series of 14 public input meetings on the superintendent search.

About 100 people showed up for the four community meetings held so far; 45 of them commented during the meeting. Nearly 200 people tuned into a portion of the public input meetings that were streamed online, but about half of them were from School District computers.

The School District also has been collecting paper and online surveys on the superintendent search. The district received about 100 paper survey responses and about 650 online survey responses, which Associate Superintendent Joyce Haldeman said was "very low."

Despite the low turnout at the community meetings so far, the public has bombarded School Board members with emails and phone calls about the superintendent search. Many community members have voiced their opinions at regular School Board meetings.

While business community leaders have pushed for a national search, many minority community leaders and teachers union members have called for Skorkowsky to become superintendent.

For over an hour Thursday night, School Board members discussed several proposed protocols related to the superintendent search. They expressed concerns about the speed, transparency and fairness of the search process.

These proposed protocols include the following:

• School Board members are cautioned about holding private, individual meetings with special interests regarding the search.

• Until the board approves a search process, all potential applicants are encouraged to wait to declare their candidacy.

• If a search firm is hired, the board may designate two board members to work directly with the search firm. No conversations between a single School Board member and the firm will take place.

School Board members still seemed split on the issue of hiring a search firm to conduct a national search. Earlier this month, the board postponed its decision on hiring a search firm to May 20 after voting 6-1 the previous month to hire an Omaha-based consulting firm.

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