Incline High principal moving on to Sparks Middle |

Incline High principal moving on to Sparks Middle

Kevin MacMillan
File photo

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — While the Washoe County School District continues interviewing to fill the role of K-12 administrator at Incline’s three public schools, one thing is certain: It will not be Stacey Cooper.

Cooper, Incline High School’s principal the past three school years, will become principal at Sparks Middle School for the 2013-14 year, a position she applied for after the district decided earlier this year to create the K-12 role, effectively eliminating the Incline schools’ principal positions.

After weighing options, Cooper decided a lateral move to another WCSD high school wasn’t the best option.

“Although this news may seem devastating for some, I am actually excited to be selected to serve in a bilingual community and in a capacity that allows me to continue to serve children,” Cooper said. “The past three years have been met with fond memories. The most difficult aspect of this change will be leaving the staff, students and families of Incline Village.”

According to previous reports, Cooper, an Ohio native, was brought to Incline Village in 2010 after a national search to replace former IHS Principal John Clark and to become K-12 administrator for the three schools. At the same time the school district was preparing to implement the controversial International Baccalaureate program.

The IB endeavor eventually fell through, due to a combination of fierce resistance from a group of parents and the inability of residents to raise money through a nonprofit to fund needed teaching positions to launch the global-minded curriculum. Amid the controversy that leaked into 2011, the school district dropped the designation of Cooper as K-12 administrator.

“I moved out here from Ohio under the pretense I would be K-12 administrator … it wasn’t until after I arrived, that (then-Superintendent) Heath (Morrison) modified the contract … to just high school principal,” Cooper said. “I think that adjustment was done at the point and time when IB was a hot enough topic, and maybe it was just too much to take on.”

Three school years later, the idea of a K-12 leader is back on the community’s radar. The district recently unveiled a plan intended to make Incline’s three schools the flagship of Washoe County. The idea is to challenge students with a personalized, college-oriented curriculum while also allowing them to explore their interests and talents that could lead to a career.

“Incline has such a strong community, talented teachers, and the schools are within biking distance,” WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said during a March 28 presentation at the high school, explaining why Incline was chosen. “The valley schools are large and are split up. Here, we have one small, cohesive system.”

Overseeing the flagship plan will be one K-12 principal who will coordinate programs among the schools; three “site administrators” will report to that person, according to a previous report.

After a series of interviews of four unnamed internal candidates on May 14, the district will continue interviews next Wednesday, said WCSD public information officer Vickie Campbell, with a goal to hire a K-12 leader by the end of this school year.

As for the other schools, current Incline Middle School site administrator Sharon Kennedy will maintain her role, Campbell said, while Mark Zimmerman, the current assistant principal at Incline High, will serve as site administrator.

“The site administrator for Incline Elementary School is yet to be determined,” she said. Currently, Kathleen Watty holds the position of K-8 principal for the middle and elementary schools.

Cooper said she applied for the K-12 job, knowing there was no guarantee she’d get it. And while she’ll be transitioning to a new role down the hill next year, she won’t be moving off it, as her daughter will still be enrolled at Incline High.

“I care about Incline. I’m a resident of Incline, and my kids and family are embedded here. I will still be here to support my kids and the community,” she said. “I wish the best for everyone, and I sincerely hope the community finds success with the new vision. It is without a doubt that Incline will be revered as the flagship school community of Washoe County.”

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