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Meet the candidates for the Clark County School District board

Four seats on the Clark County School Board are up for grabs in November. There are currently more than two dozen candidates running for the positions — and only one incumbent. A primary is scheduled for June 11.

Here’s a look at the candidates:

District A

Anna Binder serves on the CCSD Audit Advisory Board and has lived in Clark County for decades. She has six children, four of whom are enrolled in the CCSD. According to her campaign website, she believes that effective governance in public education, fiscal responsibility and transparency are paramount. Binder did not return a request for comment.

Karl Catarata is a native Nevadan and the son of a CCSD teacher. After graduating from Valley High School, Catarata worked his way through college at UNLV and is the Nevada state director of the Human Rights Campaign. He told the Review-Journal the most important issue facing the district is accountability of resources and plans to prioritize student achievement and workforce development. “I’m running to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. I want to bring my experience in education, nonprofits, and government to improve our school district.”

Mercedes McKinley’s priority is addressing teacher shortages at CCSD. She suggests increasing pay for long-term substitutes and paying those who are doing student teaching while getting their license. This is an important focus for McKinley, a former teacher who graduated from Eldorado High School as a student who initially spoke no English, according to her website. McKinley told the Review-Journal that transparency, school safety and mental health services are also important. “Advocating for more funding with transparency is my main goal.”

Rachel Puaina has been a CCSD teacher for more than five years. She told the Review-Journal that there is a pressing need for improved discipline and support for teachers and staff to create safe, productive learning environments. She hopes to ensure there is consistent oversight, targeted intervention and making sure teachers have tools to effectively manage difficult classrooms. “The lack of consistent discipline not only undermines trust and security for students and staff, but also erodes valuable educational time.”

Emily Stevens thinks the board has lost the community’s trust. She told the Review-Journal that she plans to be more involved with the public, as well as administrators, union leaders, businesses and legislators.”We need our communities to see that we are listening and that their voices are the ones we truly represent.” Stevens wants to address school safety, teacher shortages and student achievement. She is the vice president of business development for SCE Credit Union, according to her campaign website. She is a CCSD parent and holds board positions at Clark High School and Mission High School.

District B

Samuel “Russ” Burns is a teen services specialist at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, where he develops programs to address educational gaps among kids. If elected, the parent of three said he plans to address excessive standardized testing and prioritize fiscal responsibility at CCSD. That includes redirecting excessive administrative costs toward initiatives that directly benefit students and teachers, he told the Review-Journal. “The majority of us share a common goal: to provide our children with a quality education supported by adequate resources and a nurturing environment.”

Lydia Dominguez told the Review-Journal that she is committed to working with state lawmakers to prioritize academic excellence, support teachers and implement transparent accountability measures within schools. “I believe in setting high standards for student achievement and ensuring efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” Dominguez said. Dominguez has served two years on CCSD’S Attendance Zoning Advisory Committee, has served in leadership positions with the U.S. Air Force and has two children enrolled at CCSD.

Eileen Eady is a former teacher who works as a consultant on political campaigns for candidates whose positions on education align with her own. Her campaign website focuses on addressing inequity at CCSD, racial tension and funding. It promises to support teachers and create policies and programs that provide an equitable and inclusive education for every student. She did not return a request for comment.

Robert Plummer says that as a former Metropolitan Police Department officer of 28 years, he knows what it means to provide measurable results. A former CCSD student whose kids and grandkids have gone through the school district, Plummer co-founded the Bolden Little League, which later expanded into facilitating scholarships. If elected, he would focus on student outcomes, school safety and teacher retention, he told the Review-Journal. “Trustees should hold the superintendent accountable, and transparency should be paramount when it comes to student performance and financial accountability.”

Doug Self is a high school math teacher at Spring Mountain Youth Camp, according to his LinkedIn. He has no online campaign presence. He did not return a request for comment.

Deven Singh is a longtime Nevadan whose kids also attended CCSD schools. Singh, who has served as a substitute teacher, told the Review-Journal that his most important issue is making sure the board hires a superintendent who puts education first. He also wants to cut down the school dropout rate by identifying at-risk students early and offering them resources. ”I will try to bring stability and direction to raise educational standards rather than lowering them. The time is now to bring some common sense to the leadership and give CCSD a new direction.”

District C

Evelyn Garcia Morales, the only incumbent running for re-election, told the Review-Journal that she supported investments in curriculum and staff in her first term and intends to dive deeper into student outcomes if re-elected. Her goal is to improve student scores in math and English and make sure they are supported and prepared to graduate college and career ready. Garcia Morales graduated from Mojave High School, earned a scholarship to attend UNLV and has raised her kids in District C. “I am committed to continuing making students the center of our work and serve as the community’s advocate for quality public education.”

Frank Friends, a CCSD parent and former district student, says the most important issue facing the district is safety. His ideas to address it include hiring armed personnel on campus to maximize response times during an emergency, mandate a single point of entry on campuses and opening behavioral schools to address the needs of misbehaved youth. “If you change the environment, you will change the outcome,” he told the Review-Journal.

Tameka Henry previously ran for this seat in 2020 but lost to the incumbent, Garcia Morales. Henry was born and raised in Las Vegas. As executive director of The Obodo Collective, she aims to eliminate multigenerational poverty, according to her website. Henry holds leadership positions in several local advocacy groups, the website states. She did not return a request for comment.

Christopher Teacher has no online campaign presence. He lists the state of Nevada and the VA as sources of income on his financial disclosure form. He did not return a request for comment.

Dante Thompson has no online campaign presence. His campaign financial disclosure form indicates he works in insurance. He did not return a request for comment.

District E

Lorena Biassotti is a mom with children in CCSD. She is also the vice chair of the Clark County chapter of Moms for Liberty. She said the most important issue of note is school safety. Her priorities include more consequences for students who misbehave, as well as making sure students that advance are learning. She told the Review-Journal that her platform includes making sure parents are involved in their child’s education and to keep unnecessary politics out of school. “My goal is to take the reins of education from bureaucrats and place them back into the hands of parents.”

Kamilah Bywaters wants the board to have more authority. She wants to change policies so the board will take a more active leadership and oversight role over the superintendent. She told the Review-Journal she wants to promote informed decision-making and envisions collaborating with students, families, staff and teachers. “Together, we can foster a culture that values inclusivity, transparency, and partnership, ensuring that every member of our educational community has a meaningful role in shaping the future of our schools.”

Ryan Kissling is a dad and a licensed chiropractor. According to his website, his first priority is to solve the teacher shortage. He also wants to increase transparency, ensure accountability and empower and engage parents in the school system. He did not return a request for comment.

Leonard Lither has been a teacher for nearly 20 years, according to his website. Seven were at CCSD schools. Also a father of two, he says his mission is to enhance transparency and accountability in the district, with a focus on students first. He did not return a request for comment.

Joshua Logie is a 20-year Air Force veteran who still works as an instructor pilot at Creech Air Force Base. He vows to be transparent with the public and make sure he represents District E’s interests. “My main goal is to restore public trust in the school board,” he told the Review-Journal. Logie’s wife is a third grade teacher in District E, and his three children are students. He said he wants to focus on the recruitment and retention of teachers and plans to work with the board to engage the state for appropriate funding to do that.

Carlo Meguerian told the Review-Journal that the district is failing our youth and community. To help improve the situation, he wants to improve transparency within CCSD. He decided to run after the pandemic exposed shortcomings with at-home learning. His main goals are to raise standards, higher test scores, safer schools and parent engagement. “Our children need to be shown that we care and will fight for their future.”

Paula Korth-Salsman said CCSD needs effective leadership, particularly when it comes to choosing the next superintendent. If elected, she would work to adopt a rigorous selection process that involves community stakeholders, educators, parents and students, she told the Review-Journal. The superintendent would then be evaluated based on student achievement, faculty development and school improvement. “By fostering a culture of openness and rigorous evaluation of our leadership’s performance, we can inspire trust and confidence among parents, educators, and students alike.”

Jeremy Setters is a parent of three children enrolled in the school district. Setters was motivated to run for District E after his son, who is autistic, faced challenges in his early education, Setters told the Review-Journal. “I am motivated to ensure that no other child with unique learning needs has to face similar obstacles.” Setters, a psychotherapist who works with foster youth and juvenile offenders, said he has spent years researching effective interventions for vulnerable populations and will bring his business management experience to the board.

Matthew Tramp has represented District E on the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission since 2017. He served as chair the last two years. He wants to address school safety, academic disparity, as well as provide broad oversight and ensure sound financial management of the district. “My goal as a board member will be to remain focused on improving student outcomes and ensuring the voice of the broader community is fairly represented.”

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