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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 8:46 PM

Parsons Makes the Grade - First Local Superintendent Since '90s

Parsons Makes the Grade - First Local Superintendent Since '90s
Deild Parsons and the School Board during the last round of interviews

Author: Kaitlin Ritchie

At long last, and after what has proven to be a very intense and time-consuming process, the Churchill County School District Board of Trustees has selected Fallon’s own Derlid Parsons as the new superintendent. And this is no small feat. The last CCSD employee hired as superintendent was Ron Flores, who inherited the job in 1995 from one of the district’s all-time most revered superintendents, Elmo Doricco. 
Parsons, who has 23 years with ChurchillCSD, currently holds an administrative position as the Director of Learning and Innovation, which he has had since 2020. Formerly he was the Director of Special Services, coordinating special education district-wide. Parsons holds a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University, and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, and Elementary Education from the University of Nevada, Reno.
With the help of consultant Greg McKenzie, the board held multiple rounds of public interviews and conducted extensive background and reference checks, including hosting a Day at the District where the final four candidates visited schools to meet with teachers, staff, students, and parents, along with other district program administrators. By process of elimination and deciding the highest priority needs for the board, Parsons rose to the top of the list by having extensive district experience, a financial understanding of the district’s fiscal responsibilities, and an established level of trust with students, staff, and the community.
The public, including teachers and ChurchillCSD staff, were welcome to comment publicly or send letters supporting their favorite candidate. While a few had questions about Parson’s ability to implement new ideas and stand up to pressure, the comments were favorable overall. 
Feedback for Parsons: I feel he is more than ready and will make a great superintendent for our district. His ability to communicate and create respectful relationships with everyone is commendable. His knowledge of Nevada law and his body of work in different areas of education will help him understand the needs of all students, families, and staff. – Staff Comment.
I am aware of Parsons’ finance and grant knowledge and participation. He does a great job for the district and has a depth of knowledge in both education and finance and is wonderful to work with. 
Parsons is confident. He wants the district to be unified and work toward team partnerships with administrators. We believe he will work toward raising graduation rates, securing the high school, and review-revise the Strategic Plan. – Staff Comment.
During his final interview, Parsons fielded some tough questions. Trustee Julie Guerrero-Goetsch asked him to describe how he saw the role of superintendent. “As the superintendent, I will partner with the board, as well as handle the day-to-day operations,” said Parsons. “If they aren’t working, I would be accountable for that.” – Staff Comment.
Trustees discussed at length their concerns about the top four candidates and what they saw as strengths. Here are what a few comments from the trustees: 
“Parsons has been here 23 years. He knows the community. There could be some challenges for him when transitioning from special education to superintendent.” - Trustee Gregg Malkovich.
“I am comfortable with Derild, he knows the district and where we are going. It was good to see his day in the district, how he stepped out of his box to see the needs of the district.” Trustee Joe McFadden.
“Last time we were in this position [during the last superintendent hiring when Summer Stephens was selected], we were looking to move into 21st-century learning. We told Derlid that he needed more experience, and, in that time, he was mentored by the superintendent.” - Trustee Kathryn Whitaker.
“He has district level experience; I don’t doubt he could step into the role and do the job. There are great concerns for behavior and student achievement. I was not really convinced about that he is 100% the person to meet our goals.” Trustee Julie Guerrero-Goetsch.
“I agree with Katheryn, I also felt like we were already talking to a superintendent.” Trustee Amber Getto.
“I think what Derlid brings to the table is his ability to hit the ground running; he has a ton of institutional knowledge and has many relationships already built. This will save a lot of time, as a certain level of trust is already in place. My concern for any of these individuals is the amount of work in the District Office ahead to gain the support we need. We don’t have a ton of support in the District Office.” - Trustee Matt Hyde. 
Board President Tricia Strasdin did not participate in early discussions about the candidates due to a professional conflict of interest regarding candidate Blake Cooper. Once Cooper was eliminated as one of the top two choices by vote, Strasdin was then able to rejoin the discussion. When it came to a final vote, she acknowledged Parson’s references and feedback from staff. “A lot of comments came about his institutional knowledge and the level of trust,” said Strasdin, who also felt the board’s vote needed to be unanimous, “I agree with Matt, but I understand that community is the most important factor, so I will vote for Parsons.”
There is crucial need for the superintendent to be able to make the needed changes while managing to stay within the district’s staffing and financial constraints. While this concern applied to all four finalists, the board’s consensus was that not only is Parsons a good fit for the district and community, but that he has a high enough level of administrative and program knowledge that these are things he could manage on the job. 
Parsons has a tough road ahead but seems up for the challenge. “I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to serve the students, families, and staff as the next superintendent of Churchill County School District,” said Parsons. “I appreciate the support of the school board, staff, and community members through this process. Moving forward, we will start a process to help us build upon current successes, identify areas of need, and make improvements as we look forward to a bright future for the district.”
The next phase in the process will be contract negotiations. Once all parties are satisfied, the trustees will officially vote to hire Parsons during a special board meeting on May 11 at 5:30 p.m.