Off-the-cuff: Karen Gray’s analysis of CCSD’s Superintendent search

Victor Joecks

NPRI’s Karen Gray is an expert on the Clark County School District and its Board of Trustees. She’s also broken several stories involving open-meeting law violations.

Karen’s been attending Clark County School Board meetings for years. In order to facilitate a discussion among parents about education in general and the School Board specifically, recently she’s decided to write brief summaries of the meetings for the thousands of parents who aren’t able to attend the meetings, but are enormously interested in them. Also, if you’re interested in Clark County education, check out the Parents’ Sounding Board – a free discussion forum for parents to discuss education.

These are Karen’s thoughts on the School Board meeting on September 29, 2010, which was the meeting where the School Board selected Dwight Jones as CCSD’s next superintendent.

Bizarre, just bizarre…

Tonight, trustees are picking the next superintendent to lead the nation’s fifth largest school district – no doubt one of the most important decisions they will make over the next five years. And yet, trustees are hurrying through their comments. Of course, that’s been the theme for this search process all along, so why should tonight be any different? But it just seems weird that trustees would be rushed, giving their own input.

OMG, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Three trustees did due diligence and actually investigated the finalists on their home turf. And now, Board President Terri Janison just told them to make their reports to the board short.

If you regularly watch school board meetings, you’re going to find this next item really funny: Young just set the speaking timer on herself.

Ah… now I get it. It appears that Mr. Jones, our next superintendent, wasn’t entirely “transparent” during his interview with trustees. One might even opine that he lied.

When asked whether he had met with CCSD personnel or community members prior to his interview, Jones told Trustee Linda Young he hadn’t had that opportunity, really, but he did speak with two people not in Clark County. In reality however, we learn tonight, Jones had plenty of opportunity to research the district. In fact, Jones had traveled to Vegas and met with some local people. Who were they? No one has shared.

But this, say trustees, really is a non-issue. After all, Hinojosa visited Vegas too, says Janison. Is she serious? Jones came to town and met with stakeholders and then lied about it when asked by a trustee in his job interview. Okay, so Jones fessed up after getting caught. But, really, is that the honesty and trustworthiness CCSD is seeking in a superintendent?

I guess so because trustees voted to hire Jones tonight. Only Linda Young voted no – because she was uncomfortable with the process.

I don’t know what’s more bizarre – Jones’ prevarication, the trustees’ whitewashing it, or Linda Young setting the speaker timer on herself.

Karen’s insights on previous board meetings are at the Parents’ Sounding Board. Check it out.