Election 2016: Washoe school board Seat G candidates sound off | SierraSun.com

Election 2016: Washoe school board Seat G candidates sound off

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The primary election in Nevada is set for June 14. There are a number of races important to local voters, including two seats on the Washoe County School District Board.

Eight candidates have filed for the District G seat, an at-large position representing the western half of Washoe County. Former District G trustee Barbara McLaury is not seeking re-election.

The candidates are David DeSilva, Katy Simon Holland, Bill Horn, Greg Hudson, Helm Lehmann, Mike Mieras, Michael Millerick and John "Jack" Milon.

For this race, residents will be asked to vote for one candidate; the top two vote-getters for will then move onto November's general election.

To better inform voters heading to the polls, the Bonanza offered each candidate space for a bio and a 750-word-max statement. Read both below, published verbatim.

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Michael James Millerick

Age: 67

Full-time residence in Washoe County: West 4th Street, Reno

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: 2 years

Current occupation: Retired Human Resources Executive

Formal education: University of California Davis, B.A. History; California State University Sacrcamento, teaching credential and post graduate studies in public school administration; Society For Human Resource Management, Life certification, Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR)

Current and previous political/government experience: West Coast Representative, Executive Committee Student National Education Association; President, Student California Teachers Association; Consultant to the California Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing (CTPL); Labor Neutral, California Public Employee Relations Board.

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

It's About Our Children.

My children are graduates of both the school district as well as UNR. Not all our children are as fortunate. The district needs to re-examine efforts to ensure all our children are given a real opportunity to learn and reach their true potential.

I have spent my entire career dedicated to public education. And it is time for me to contribute that dedication as a member of the Board of Education and to do so with the unique benefit of a broad, informed and experienced perspective.

Many candidates will tell you what they are going to do/accomplish and the programs/issues which have their interest. They will extoll their leadership experience.

I respect this however the reality is it is a seven member board with primary responsibility for oversight and evaluation of the district's chief administrative officer — the Superintendent — and established District programs. The operating demand is to seek consensus as a Board on what the crucial issues are in our district.

And the reality is we should be asking candidates specifically what approaches they intend to advocate for the public which will change the way the district operates. My purpose in seeking a position on the Board of Education is to work for a collaborative approach by our Board to focus greater attention on the following specific changes:

We need to confront why far too many of our children score so low on national tests? We are in a state where our national test scores are at the very bottom. This is virtually a crisis.

How money is spent and a requirement of the administration to ensure the public is able to evaluate income and expenditures. A 250 page, half a billion dollar (+) budget with scores of buzz words, pie charts and complex accounting categories is not 'transparency' ! There are ways to present the budget in laypersons terms which create true accountability for the administration.

How the scores of district "programs" are evaluated annually for their "cost versus effectiveness" and impact on how many children. Millions of dollars are spent on these programs and the public needs to know if they achieve valuable results for children's learning.

There is an invaluable model budgeting analysis program called "Cost of Services" which precisely presents the actual cost per child of a classroom or a program. This process enables hard questions to be asked about whether a program is cost/effective and are there alternative ways to achieve the same service for less money and a better cost/benefit ratio.

No other candidate has the qualifications, insight and experience which give me a unique voice to encourage the above changes in the way the Board governs. Starting in the classroom I moved into teacher union work then time as a labor neutral for the State of California before becoming a consultant with the California School Boards Association providing negotiations services to Board's of Education and counsel on other matters.

My largest client hired me to be their Director of Employer/Employee Relations and after four years Superintendent Dr. Moss hired me to work in the human resources division of the Washoe County School District where I spent 18 years in a management role.

During my career in the District I was a quietly outspoken advocate for operational efficiency and cost effective use of public funds for all our children in our classrooms. I practiced creative problem solving, collaborative versus confrontational negotiations, and believed in fairness and compassion in dealing with employees.

My candidacy offers specific measures which will change the way the Board governs and how we can better ensure every child has the opportunity to learn and reach their true potential. Your support will be appreciated.

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William B. Horn (Bill)

Age: 69

Full-time residence: 2250 Dant Blvd. Reno

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: 25 years

Current occupation: Retired Community Volunteer (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada-Big Brother)

Formal education: MBA (Human Resource Management) Golden Gate University; BS (Accounting and Economics) Brigham Young University

Current and previous political/government experience: From March 2001 to October 2001, I was the Director of Administrative Services for IVGID. From November 2001 through September 2013, I was the interim General Manager of IVGID for two months and the General Manager until I retired September 30, 2013.

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees have forgotten who their primary customers are, the children, their parents and the teachers. As they have lost sight of who they serve, they have lost the Trust and Accountability over public funds and since the summer of 2014 have wasted valuable public funds which will never be recovered and spent on the education of our children. And they have compounded this with a variety of open meeting law violations. The time wasted is lost forever.

IVGID faced similar challenges in 2001 when the aging infrastructure faced replacement, capital projects were never completed on time or on budget, the cost to catch up on back maintenance was growing and there were no funds to pay for these infrastructure replacements and overlooked maintenance.

A culture change was required and public funds needed to be raised. The IVGID employees working with the Board of Trustees and the community decided public projects could be completed within budget and on time and maintenance would no longer be delayed. For the next 13 years the capital and operating budgets where met, and the financial sustainability of IVGID was established and in place. When I retired as the GM of IVGID, it was in the best financial condition of its 50 year history.

The WCSD is faced with aging infrastructure and a culture of wasting public funds and not completing capital projects on time and on budget and allowing maintenance to be deferred. However, the price tag including postponed maintenance totals $1.2 billion. And now they are faced with raising $781 million through increasing the sales tax rate to 8.265%. Whether this November ballot question passes or not, I have shown you through my day to day example that I respect the public funds you entrusted to IVGID during my 13 year tenure and will not waste them.

This $1.2 billion challenge and the open meeting law violations, receive all of the headlines, while the more critical functions of a School Board Trustee to support our children, their parents and the teachers are not receiving their complete attention. The areas which are suffering through lack of attention are the Special Education, Gifted and Talented, ELL, Safe and Healthy Schools Commission, Student Wellness Advisory Council and the Council on Family Engagement initiatives and programs. Other areas which have less to do with educating our children are the lack of a transparent bidding process and a more positive and inclusive process in selecting a superintendent and negotiating their contract.

Since I am a person of actions and not just words, I will only be able refocus the WCSD Board of Trustees towards change by your voting for me during early voting or on June 14, 2016. Please remember, I am the only candidate who has experience in your community and with a knowledge of the public education system here in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. So above all, please vote.

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Katy Simon Holland

Age: 63

Full-time residence in Washoe County: Dakota Ridge Trail, Reno

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: 21 years

Current occupation: Faculty for national Local Government Innovation Academy through Arizona State University (ASU) and the non-profit Alliance for Innovation; consultant to local governments and non-profits throughout North America on innovation, performance excellence, leadership and strategic planning

Formal education: BA History magna cum laude Univ. of California; MA Counseling, UNR College of Education

Current and previous political/government experience: Served as Washoe County Manager for 15 years, winning numerous national awards such as #1 Local Government in the US for Waste Reduction, #1 Digital County in the US, three-time winner of the NV Taxpayers Association Good Government Award, a bond rating upgrade from Moody's and Standard and Poor's, a 90+% voter approval rating for our handling of the fiscal crisis 2008-2013, as well as a 44% increase in measured citizen satisfaction during the Recession. Also served as a high school counselor and as a teacher at TMCC, UNR and guest faculty at the USC graduate school of public policy in Sacramento. No previous political candidacy.

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

I am running for the WCSD School Board to help rebuild public confidence, trust and accountability in the School District. I believe my experience as the CEO of an award-winning $800 million public organization with more than 3,000 employees in 11 labor unions can be extremely useful to the District in restoring fiscal responsibility and public trust.

I have received the endorsement of The Chamber, the Builders Association, and the Associated General Contractors after those organizations interviewed all the candidates, as well as former Sheriff Mike Haley, former WCSD Superintendent Dr. Jim Hager, and many others. I am a known and trusted quantity, having served as the Chairman of the Board of the United Way, Board member of the Economic Development Authority (EDAWN), the Children's Cabinet, and many others, and I am currently the Vice Chair of the Tahoe Fund.

I lived in Tahoe from 1974-1981, then owned a home again in Tahoe from 2003-2008, and I understand and am familiar with the unique challenges of life and business in Tahoe. I have extensive legislative experience, having worked successfully with 10 Nevada Legislative Sessions, and I am frequently asked to work with public organizations here and throughout the US and Canada to help them with innovation, strategic planning, and organizational performance. I believe I can make a positive difference at a time when the School District desperately needs proven executive leadership. I will work to make sure that decisions reflect community involvement, and that the District is transparent and accountable in its decision-making and its actions.

My priorities if elected are:

Fiscal Responsibility

Restoring Public Confidence

Reducing School Overcrowding

Inspiring Staff Excellence

Expanding Counseling Resources

I welcome questions and look forward to the opportunity to serve the Incline/Crystal Bay community. I encourage voters to go to my website http://www.katy4kids.com for more information and follow me on twitter @katy4kids. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the candidates, and regardless of whom you choose to support, please remember to vote in the upcoming Primary Election June 14, or in Early Voting starting May 28.

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Helm Lehman

Age: 59

Full-time residence in Washoe County: Cedar Mountain Drive, Reno

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: Answer not provided

Current occupation: I currently teach business and management at Truckee Meadows Community College. I was previously senior operations manager of revenue and contracts for Asia and the Americas at Microsoft Licensing. Along with others, my teams were responsible for capturing $17 Billion in annual revenue. Prior to this, I spent eight years as a hospital administrator for large, multi-hospital systems and seven years managing leadership development and strategic planning for REI in Washington state. I've written two published books; one on corporate and government leadership and one about the 2008 market meltdown and housing crash.

Formal education: B.A. Government, University of Texas, Austin; MBA, Finance; M.A. Government, University of Texas, Austin

Current and previous political/government experience: Non-partisan, formal candidate for Congress 2011 Special Election District 2. On a budget of $4,000, I finished third among four declared-party candidates who, combined, spent over $1.6 Million dollars.

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

I have five primary goals as a Board Trustee:

1. Always make decisions that are in the best interests of our students and their ability to compete in an ever more diverse economy and employing best practices from the private sector where appropriate.

2. Ensure financial integrity, financial management and accountability to all Washoe County taxpayers.

3. Redesign and implement processes that will help our teachers do their best work.

4. Work in collaboration with all stakeholders; parents, taxpayers, teachers and the community to take action on the most effective solutions to the difficult problems facing our school district.

5. Ensure that all Board actions are legal, sound and above reproach; rebuilding trust and respect within the community, media and elsewhere.

Political Party: Registered, non-partisan.

Sales Tax: Decision pending waiting for additional informational briefings from the Board.

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John "Jack" Milon

Age: 76

Full-time residence in Washoe County: Galena

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: We have lived here full time off and on for 19 years since moving here in 1992.

Current Occupation: Retired teacher

Formal Education: BA English from Ohio State U.; MA Linguistics from UC, San Diego; PhD Educational Psychology from UC Santa Barbara

Current and previous political/government experience: None

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

I have been involved in education in various parts of the US and the world since 1962. I have taught at a religious high school in Ohio, at a secondary school in Africa in the Peace Corps, at a high school in the Marshall Islands, at all levels from K to university in Hawaii, at a university in Africa for Ohio University, at a university in California, at the University of Nevada, at a community college in Barrow, Alaska and at two different universities in China‹all full time. I have also taught part time at a community college in Hawaii, at Truckee Meadows CC and as a substitute teacher for the WCSD.

One of the most important things I have learned from this is that education is extremely complicated. There are no simple solutions that work everywhere with all populations. School systems all face similar problems but they have to solve them in different ways. At one point I was talking to the Principal of an elementary school 200 miles down a sand/dirt road in the Kalahari Desert. He said his biggest problems were 1- the central administration does not support me, 2- children these days don't value education the way we did, and 3- the parents don't make their children cooperate with the school. If those don't sound familiar, you haven't been involved with education for more than a week. Some educational issues are systemic. All children want to learn, but they don't necessarily want to learn the things the system wants to teach or want to learn the way the system wants to teach them. All parents want their children to succeed in school, but not all parents know how to help their children accomplish that goal.

My experience has convinced me that the best way for a school system like WCSD to succeed is to make a primary purpose of their existence getting out information about what education really is, or what the district's concept of what education is, out to the students and parents. For example, what does "graduation rate" mean? What does "drop out rate" mean?

As a trustee I will make it the first order of business to work with the administration to get out accurate information to the community. Not in the sense of "It is available if you know where to look," but in the sense of "Here it is" over and over again.

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Greg Hudson

Age: Answer not provided

Full-time residence in Washoe County: Answer not provided

How long you have been a resident within the Washoe County School District: Answer not provided

Current Occupation: I am a PCA working for Freedom Home Health. I've been an electronics tech, a store clerk, a waiter, an ATM tech for Brinks and a police officer at a military base.

Formal Education: Graduated Alvarado Jr. High 1975; Fremont High 1979; Bay Valley Tech 1983; Reserve Police Academy at Evergreen Valley College 1994, Attended De Anza Jr College 1979-1980, LCSC 1991-1992, San Jose City College 1995, Currently studying accounting at TMCC. Will be transferring to UNR in the future.

Current and previous political/government experience: I was a member of the Sheriffs' posse in Asotin Co. WA. in 1992 until I moved to CA. I previously ran for this office in 2008 and for the open Congressional seat in 2010 but just like Obama, Mark Amodei got everyone kicked off the ballot. (I plan on running against him in the future as we need someone who will post a sign on their door that reads "No lobbyists").

Candidate Statement (750-word limit):

If you're sick and tired of the liberal losers in govt. who have zero respect for you and your hard earned tax dollars then you need to elect me; I promise you that I will NEVER ask you for a tax increase or to approve a bond issue. If you've been paying attention you've noticed that these losers are forever whining that they need more money and they come at you every 2 years crying for yet another tax increase or a bond issue. I also vow to treat you with the respect you deserve; I will not tolerate concerned parents being thrown out of PTA meetings or being arrested by the school police at the order of some liberal Nazi who didn't agree with them. I also vow to put an end to the PC garbage; no more pushing the fraud of global warming, no more teaching our children to hate themselves for being white, Christian, American, straight, patriotic and having both a mother and father and wanting to be in the military or on the police force when they grow up. No more multiculturalism, "diversity". affirmative action, and an end to the sexual harassment witch hunt which we all know has done massive harm to both children and adults. It will be Easter Vacation and Christmas Vacation once again and no, there will be no more "how to be a Muslim" weeks. I also want to fire 90% of all the administrators and eliminate these unnecessary positions permanently. I also want psychological tests for every one in education so we can weed out all the anti-American losers who are harming our children. We need to go back to the good old days of teaching our children to be polite, well mannered, respectful, self sufficient and trustworthy. Remember that self respect is earned by doing the right thing and taking pride in a job well done every day. If you vote for the same old losers things will only continue to get worse. Show your self and your children some respect and vote for Greg Hudson!

EDITOR’s NOTE

Of the eight WCSD Seat G candidates, two — Mike Mieras and David DeSilva — did not to submit a bio or candidate statement, and thus are not featured here.

To read more about the candidates, visit the Washoe County Registrar of Voters web page at washoecounty.us/voters, and then click on “Election Information 2016” at the left to view candidate profiles.