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Hiring of Clark County School Board president’s husband under investigation

Updated May 17, 2018 - 10:59 pm

An outside investigator will examine whether the Clark County School District followed proper procedure in hiring the husband of the School Board’s president, following a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky intervened in his placement into a teacher preparation program in 2014.

The district said it has instructed attorney Robert Freeman to investigate Jason Wright’s employment. Freeman already is conducting an investigation of allegations of discrimination and favoritism within the district’s Employee-Management Relations department headed by Associate Superintendent Edward Goldman.

Jason Wright, the husband of board President Deanna Wright, applied for the Alternative Routes to Licensure program, which makes participants eligible for teaching positions upon completion. Human resources staff planned to recommend he be rejected, documents obtained by the Review-Journal show. Wright was later hired as a teacher in 2016.

The documents highlighted previous evaluations that he had received while working for the district as a support staff employee that noted a need for improvement and a written reprimand he had received in 2007. The reason for the reprimand was not given.

Recommendation ignored

But Skorkowksy directed employees to allow Wright into the program, documents show.

District spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said the district takes all allegations of misconduct seriously.

“The Board of School Trustees is committed to ensuring that all aspects of Jason Wright’s employment were handled correctly,” she said in a statement. “Therefore, they have asked Robert W. Freeman, Jr., the attorney from Lewis Brisbois who is handling another outside investigation for the district, to also look into this matter to ensure all District policies, regulations and state laws were followed.”

Deanna Wright said last week that the release of the information about her husband was part of a “witch hunt” in retaliation for her vote in the district’s recent search for a new superintendent.

She said people urged her to vote the “right way” in the days before the School Board voted to give the job to Orlando Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Jesus Jara.

“I think that both my husband and myself are glad to have a third party who is objective look at it,” she said of the investigation Thursday.

Allegation by student

The Review-Journal also recently reported that a Harris Elementary School student had alleged Jason Wright kicked him and grabbed him by the collar.

The district said Child Protective Services responded and found the report unsubstantiated. School police also conducted an investigation that did not substantiate criminal wrongdoing, according to the district.

Jason Wright was reassigned from Harris Elementary in the “best interest of all parties” and is at Johnston Middle School, according to the district.

Trustee Chris Garvey said she supports the investigation.

“As a trustee, it is our solemn duty to ensure that we are doing everything to make sure that our system is set up in a way that protects children,” she said.

Freeman, the investigator, works for the Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith law firm that the district has regularly used as outside counsel.

But the district has confidence the investigation will be independent.

“Mr. Freeman has not worked with the school district for the past 20 years,” Searer said. “He works for a large firm that has completed work for an outside contractor that provides workers’ compensation services to our Risk Management department.”

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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