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Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 9:09 PM

Candidate Profile -- Ivy Ward for Churchill County School Board

Candidate Profile -- Ivy Ward for Churchill County School Board
Ivy Ward

First, I graduated from Churchill County High School. My father worked in civil service for the government most of my life, including here at the base and in Hawthorne. I credit this community with my success. I am currently working toward my BA in Early Childhood Education at Great Basin College. I am running for school board because I believe that I can help improve our school district. I care about our kids, and I want them to have a great experience going to school. Our teachers need to know that we support them and our parents.


The Churchill County School District has been designated a Purple Star school district that shows a commitment to students and families connected to the military.  How can the school district build upon that designation?

I have a unique experience with moving every two to four years just like military kids since my father worked in civil service all his life. We moved to many destinations for my father to work on a military installation. It’s hard to come to a new school. These students must adjust, and we need to help them adjust and be flexible with their needs. I would like to improve counseling services by giving them a “go-to” person to assist with their needs. I would like to offer more opportunities to join extracurricular programs.


The school district has outsourced food services. Would you be in favor or not in favor if the school board wanted to extend outsourcing for janitorial services and transportation?

I am not in favor of outsourcing anything. Outsourcing our meals, transportation, and janitorial services should not be an option. We should be employing our own community members that live in Churchill County.


In selecting superintendents during the past 32 years, trustees have selected only one candidate from the local school district. Should the district continue with this trend, or should the district develop administrative talent from within the district who would be qualified to lead the school district and build upon the status quo?

Our school board needs to develop talent within our community. We have qualified people that understand our community and our children’s needs. It is important that our teachers feel they have an opportunity for career growth and development that can include becoming the superintendent of the district they choose to work in.


Would you favor the continuation of the partnership between the school district and Western Nevada College by expanding more programs for high-school-level classes?

Yes, I would favor the continuation of partnerships between Western Nevada College as I feel all children who wish to pursue an early degree should have the ability to do so. I would like to see trade programs and hands-on skills like agriculture, and construction be presented as an educational option as well. All children that wish to pursue an early degree should be able to do so. In the same way, we should also support trade and agricultural classes for students that do not wish to pursue college.


School districts across the state have experienced problems in hiring staff and then keeping them in a rural setting. As a trustee, what would you do to help Human Resources attract more educators and keep them in Churchill County?

After speaking with many teachers that have left our district, I believe the most important thing we can offer a teacher is real support for issues in the classroom and offer true solutions to the problems they are facing. Many of our teachers are overwhelmed with additional responsibilities with failed support from the administration. Teachers need to be heard and given assistance when they ask for it. Teachers are leaving for a reason, why are we not asking them why they are leaving?


What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of our current school system?

Our greatest weakness is staffing. Hands down, we need to recruit and hire qualified teachers, and staff, including transportation. Our greatest strengths are the children we serve. We should make our children a priority.


What is the one biggest change, issue, or improvement you would like to see occur, or what would you advocate for during your term on the school board?

The biggest change I would like to see is excellent communication between the board and all school district employees. Most of the district employees feel there is a huge disconnect with the administration. Requests for help are ignored, children that are disruptive in class are not given any repercussions, and this is not acceptable. The school board must intervene and allow district employees the opportunity to speak freely about issues in class and around the district. It is the responsibility of the school board to ensure that district administration is responsive to the needs of our staff and students. 


What is your opinion about communication between the board and the staff, visiting schools, and how much opportunity would you have to spend observing and talking to staff at school sites?

The school board should be welcome to visit the schools at any time. We should be able to speak to the staff and teachers. There should be no fear of consequences for a district employee to seek us out and speak their mind. I would be willing to spend twenty hours per week visiting schools and classrooms. Currently, I believe there is a huge disconnect between the school board and the school district employees. This must be fixed.


How would you proceed if your opinion is different from the rest of the board – would you be willing to stand your ground, build a coalition, or go with the flow?

Owning my own business for the past seven years has taught me many lessons in communication. I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of person. I will stand my ground on issues that I believe are important. I will also look for facts to back up what I believe to be the best course of action. My goal is to make good decisions based on facts, not gossip.


What would your support level be for maintaining or improving the Career and Technical Education programs at the high school and middle school?

I am 100% for improving the Career and Technical Education programs at the high school and middle school. Not all kids want to go to college and that is fine. Let’s provide educational options that allow them to enter trade programs or schools. Our children need agricultural, trade, and career skills available to them to work and make decisions about their lives.  We need to provide these opportunities for them.