Friday, March 18, 2016 | 5:40 p.m.
It’s going to be a busy election season for the Clark County School Board.
A whopping 15 candidates are set to challenge four school board trustees up for re-election this November, according to state filing records.
As the oversight body of the fifth-largest school district in the country, the school board plays a major role in setting policy for more than 300,000 students.
Up for re-election are school board President Linda Young and trustees Deanna Wright, Chris Garvey and Patrice Tew. All took office in 2008 with the exception of Tew, who won an open seat in 2012.
The filing period closed Friday evening, and while some may still withdraw before the primaries in June, that’s still a lot of candidates for a school board election. In fact, assuming the candidates don’t withdraw, it will be the biggest school board election in recent memory.
Seven challengers came forward in 2014, and six in 2012.
The spike in interest comes as attention on the Clark County School District and public education is higher than ever.
Last year’s legislative session saw an unprecedented move by lawmakers to address Nevada’s ailing public education system by pushing millions of new tax dollars into schools. Loud calls for accountability include an ongoing debate about whether to limit the power of CCSD’s central office.
Here’s a rundown of each race. Note: Some candidates did not submit contact information and did not return phone calls.
District A, includes Henderson, Boulder City, Laughlin and parts of southern Las Vegas
A recent theme when it comes to education and Henderson is that many feel their local schools would be better run by city officials rather than the district. Henderson Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus was instrumental in passing a bill calling for a reorganization of CCSD. It’s also worth noting that schools in Henderson already tend to be some of the highest performing in the district. Challenging Wright, a homemaker who has been on the board since 2008, are Mallory Levins, coordinator of college access programs at NSHE; Shawn Mueller, senior manager with AT&T; James Gartside; Paricia Krajcech; and Richard Vaughan.
District B, includes parts of North Las Vegas, Nellis, Moapa Valley and Mesquite
Most of the action in District B lately has come from residents of Moapa Valley, who have clashed with school board members in recent disagreements over sex education and reorganization. Residents' public support for breaking off from CCSD caused a showdown between the rural community and Garvey, which was one of the reasons Logandale attorney Evan James decided to enter the race. Garvey, a dental hygienist, has been a trustee since 2008. In addition to James, she'll be challenged by Jeffrey Eggeman, truck driver and business owner, and Carol Mckenzie.
District C, includes parts of downtown Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and the historic West Las Vegas
Despite breezing unopposed to re-election in 2012, board President Linda Young is facing heavy opposition this time around. She could face stiff competition from Adam Johnson, a current director at Teach for America Nevada. TFA members have a history of being deeply involved in decision-making when it comes to education in Nevada, and a number of them have served on the state board of education. Challenging Young, a retired educator who has been on the board since 2008, are Adam Johnson, director of growth and partnerships at Teach for America; Walter Jones III, founder of Faith Vision construction and landscaping; Mark Melton, disabled U.S. Navy veteran, ordained minister and youth mentor; Antonio Bowen; and Russell Davis.
District E, includes Summerlin and west Las Vegas, Indian Springs and Mount Charleston
District E has the smallest number of students in CCSD, and Tew faces the smallest number of challengers. Matthew Tramp, who opposes the Common Core standards, supports the right of parents to opt out of tests. Lola Ann Brooks has a master’s in social work from UNLV and is passionate about using data to solve education issues. Tew, a retired lawyer, has been a trustee since 2012. Her challengers are Lola Ann Brooks, UNLV graduate and former coordinator with United Way, and Matthew Tramp, anti-Common Core advocate.