*Candidate responses were not modified or altered.

Candidate Questions

Q1. What are your top 2 priorities for the Washoe County School District?

Q2. How would you increase the resources needed for our students and teachers to be successful?

Q3. How would you ensure that all of our students and teachers learn and work in a safe school environment?

Q4. How would you ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for marginalized communities, such as people of color and religious minorities, in our schools?

Matthew Montognese

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Angela Taylor, PhD


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A1. 1. Hiring the best leader to fill the role of our next superintendent. 2. Increased funding as that allows the District to increase teacher pay, decrease class sizes, expand wrap around service, fully provide counselors, social workers and therapists and continue to secure our schools.

A2. I believe there are three keys to increasing our funding. The funding formula is outdated and in drastic need of improvement. We currently work with the Governor’s office and our State legislators to complete the work that has begun to update it ASAP. The second key is to continue to ensure that the District is transparent and responsible in how taxpayer dollars are spent and accounted for. The third key is to stay laser focused on increasing the trust and credibility of the Board of Trustees with increased communication, honesty and integrity.

A3. There is nothing more important than the safety of our students and educators. I am proud of the work that has been done in this area and that needs to continue. All elementary schools have single point of entry which is critical. As of August 2021, this will be completed at the majority of the remaining schools . But safety goes beyond entrance to the campus. We must also improve safety within the school. The work on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is an essential effort that should be continued and even expanded. SEL helps students learn to manage themselves, control their emotions and make better responsible decisions. Research shows that this can reduce suspensions, increase attendance and improve academic performance, especially with marginalized populations.

A4. This begins with the commitment of the Board of Trustees. I am proud of the fact that time and time and time again, we have passed resolutions to demonstrate our bold support of students and staff when national events led to questions regarding safety. But this has to go beyond words.

During my first elected term on the Board, while working to eliminate a $40 million dollar budget deficit, we approved funding to expand the Equity and Diversity Office three-fold.. The Board mandated cultural competency training for EVERY employee and that is being conducted almost daily. And yes, the Board has participated in this training. This work is having an impact on the culture but progress has not been as rapid as I would like. I am hopeful that as the funding formula is updated, more resources will be available to accelerate this critical work.

In the Washoe County School District, our goal is to provide ALL students with the world-class education they need to be successful in college, careers or military service. Each year, schools conduct an anonymous climate study to learn how each group feels about their environment. And annually, we learn more about what can be done. We work to improve this every year, but honestly, we still have work to do.

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