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June 30, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Show support for Skorkowsky

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I commend and applaud the School Board for making Pat Skorkowsky interim superintendent because he has what those who are stakeholders in education want in a leader: he is a local person who understands our educational system and what teachers and students have endured in our classrooms, and he is committed to do what is necessary to bring our district into a reform phase that is conducive and productive.

However, as I get caught up reading and watching all the media coverage, I find that the stakeholders outside of teachers are hesitant. They have a right to be! We have had some turbulence the past few years with superintendents coming and going.

Instead of thinking about what has happened in the past, and attempting to say that history repeats itself, we all need to look forward.

Instead of waiting on the edge, expecting failure, we need to support and work toward better ideals that will be conducive and productive for our classrooms, which include teacher and student performance.

We need to support a leader just as much as we need to have support from a leader.

I truly believe Skorkowsky is willing to do what it takes to put in time, effort, leadership and resources where they truly belong: in the classroom and in the hands of teachers.

If people, the stakeholders of the School District, really want to ensure Skorkowsky stays firmly in place as our leader, then people need to speak up and support him, not wait for him to fail because history repeats itself.

The author teaches in the Clark County School District.

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  1. If you are part of the problem, it's hard to be part of the solution. Look outside CCSD and hire the best and most qualified Super. Pay him/her the prevailing market rates and benefits for a Super. Our students deserve the best and brightest. And sadly it's not always a local home grown professional. It's a big world out there and all out there are eligible and should be considered.

    Carmine D

  2. Constantly looking outside of CCSD is the reason we've watched a continual parade of "outside" carpetbagging losers in the Superintendent position. The most recent one is a prime example (I already forgot his name). If he contributed one positive change to the dismal state of public ed in this county, someone please point it out. He came from the Michelle Rhee school of crap education. There should be a list of immediate priorities for education in the county posited by the SCHOOL BOARD. If the interim superintendent can't perform satisfactorily, then get rid of him and begin a search. Give him a chance FIRST, before throwing more money down a rat hole on another specious "search".

  3. With the last 3 super's that we have had in the CCSD we have seen no change in our school district's performance,we are still at the bottom of the heap.

    We need to give Mr.Skorkowsky a chance to address the issues and ideas that he has in mind for a change in direction for our school district.

    We can't go any lower than we are now in school performance (lowest in the country).Outside people have not worked out,let's give Mr.Skorkowsky some sort of time frame to bring a much needed change for the CCSD.

  4. Remember, resigning Superintendent Dwight D. Jones "officially resigned" and left his position on Friday, March 22, 2013. As soon as he "officially" did, Interim Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky recorded a you-tube type message to all CCSD employees via Interact, late that afternoon, to provide his mission on picking up where the resigning Jones left off (out of respect, I suppose). It appears that Skorkowsky is getting out and trying to connect with folks promptly, as

    Tanker1975 states, "I attended the hearing yesterday at the Grant Sawyer building on the DSA. A diverse group was in attndence. I recognized teachers, support staff and administrators. When Mr. Skorkowski was introduced, he was applauded. When he finished his testimony, which included references to when he was a teacher, almost 25 years ago in CCSD, he again was widely applauded. I know that at least one member of the Trustees attended that meeting.

    Let's give him a chance. He is widely respected by CCSD employees. With his 25 years in CCSD, and his knowledge of the problems and needs of our students, he has a much better chance of being successful than somebody who doesn't know the district, the politics of Nevada, and has to prove themselves. If he's good enough to be the Interim Superintendent, why isn't he good enough to be the Superintendent? Other than the fact, the Trustees want to do a national search at the cost of one teacher position."

    Hopefully, this transition will be as seamless as possible, and Interim Superintendent Skorkowsky will get to business with the 77th Nevada State Legislative Session on behalf of our students and their families. Time is precious and much needs to be done this session.

    Blessings and Peace,

  5. Though the accountability model instituted by Dwight Jones relies too heavily on excessive testing that robs teachers and students of instructional time, it did get the district's educators to focus more on analyzing data and using it to address weaknesses in student achievement. I'd be surprised if Mr. Skorkowsky abandons Jones's plan entirely, if at all, but where Superintendent Skorkowsky has an edge is in the fact that he is respected and well liked. If he will take much needed steps to improve teacher morale while continuing to set high expectations for student outcomes, we're going to see real improvement in our schools. For the first time since Jones arrived on the scene and began his campaign to beat teachers and site administrators into submission, I'm once again beginning to feel at least somewhat hopeful. Let's just hope the school board trustees don't muck it all up by bringing in some crazy Rheeformer!

  6. "If he's good enough to be the Interim Superintendent, why isn't he good enough to be the Superintendent?"

    Because good enough is not good enough. Children and students deserve the best, not just good enough. I'm not convinced Pat Skorkowsky is the best.

    Carmine D

  7. Jeff:

    I agree with your post here that we have to know more about Pat Skorkowsky before we can show support for him.

    On the same hand I know enough about the Clintons not to support them for the Super position and for that matter many other positions of public trust.

    So you are one for 2 here.

    Having said that I will give the devil her due. In a recent poll of Floridians, Mrs. Clinton clobbered both Senator Rubio and Governor Jeb Bush by double digits for the presidency in 2016. That's a huge feat for Mrs. Clinton and she deserves my respect for it. But my respect doesn't equate with my vote.

    Carmine D

  8. BTW, I believe I referred to Mrs. Clinton as "frumpy." Fat and old are your words, not mine.

    Carmine D

  9. Jeff:

    I know Mr. Skorkowsky since he was the principal at French Elementary School. I have a high regard for him and I know he will do a good job of improving student performance, IF he involves teachers and not those who are not in the classrooms.

    He must also be free from politics. Politics will ruin anyone with whom it makes contact. Politics is the poison that is slowly eroding education.

    He has to focus on prevention of the many problems that is destroying education. We must focus on parent education and involvement, examining the relevance of the core curriculum to the needs of the current society and culture, examining college teacher preparation program and pre-service training, examining teacher recruitment and placement, examining professional development needs, programs, and delivery; examining school leadership qualifications, teacher collaboration, teacher evaluation, student assessment, student and staff safety, staffing, and the entire systems and processes in delivering instruction.

    If he still has to worry where CCSD's next 'meal' will come from, then nothing much will really change, no matter who you hire as superintendent.

  10. Let Pat be the Superintendent of Schools and hire a politician to play politics as Superintendent of Government Relations.

  11. Or let the Super for Government Relations be the super for schools too. I opine that one can do both jobs just as well as the other. Perhaps a super with political savvy can do better at both. Perhaps that is one of the reasons a super is paid as much as he/she is. A super is expected to navigate political obstacles and limitations and forge ahead.

    Carmine D

  12. BTW, one of the supers of CCSD went on to be elected and serve as the 27th Governor of Nevada.

    His legacies in both positions are highly regarded here and around the country.

    Carmine D

  13. Unlike most nouns in the English language that are ambiguous and unclear, superintendent says and describes itself exactly. Like putting super and man and/or woman together. Few nouns say both what it is and does so well as superintendent.

    Carmine D