Please give a background of yourself and why you are running for school board.
My name is Gregg Malkovich. I am a retired educator with more than 29 years of teaching and administrative experience in Nevada with a teaching degree from Western Montana College (now the University of Montana Western) and a Masters of Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.
I believe that all children have the right to a high-quality education which honors each child’s needs and prepares each for the unique path each will take. Children deserve educational personnel that care, respect, and grow while encouraging every child to do the same. Every child deserves school and district leadership that is fearless to look forward to creating a bright future by understanding the successes and missteps of the past. Every child deserves leadership that is informed, well-rounded, reflective, and fiscally responsible. Leadership must have integrity and the courage to do what is right even in the face of controversy. Every child deserves leadership that focuses physical, human, and fiscal capital to efficiently and effectively meet the mission, vision, and values of ChurchillCSD and Fallon.
This focused lens allows leadership to reach out and assist to meet these goals without overstepping the boundaries of its role.
I am the most qualified candidate for ChuchillCSD Board Trustee. I have lived in the community since 1993, serving more than 29 years in Education. I’ve worked for nine different superintendents and dozens of School Board Trustees, attended dozens of school board meetings, and sat through multiple closed sessions in the roles of Assistant Superintendent, Principal, and parent. I have experience working with school district attorneys on issues to ensure ChurchillCSD’s interests and have worked through budget cuts as well as times of growth. I’ve recruited teachers and had to see positions cut. I’ve hired over 100 past and current school district employees and conducted job performance evaluations for nearly every position within ChurchillCSD. I’m confident I can successfully engage in evaluating the Superintendent.
I’ve also worked with and been a member of organizations with other Nevada district superintendents and individuals at the Nevada Department of Education to include work with NDE folks to obtain grant funding for our PreK program and to advance Early Childhood programs. I understand what it means to be a School Board Trustee. My experiences will allow me to make very informed voting decisions which impact Fallon students, families, staff, and community. I understand that the decisions made must reflect the reason schools exist … students! I do believe that more budget cuts are coming, but Fallon has been through many of these and has always bounced back … We are a true “Can Do” city.
I have the experience and historical knowledge of the district that very few others in Fallon could. I can share things that have been done, things that have worked and things that haven’t. I believe that as we “move forward” and charter new territories, I can help “give back” time (I am retired), energy, dedication, and knowledge for the benefit of our community.
The state is in the middle of changing the funding formula for Nevada’s schools. Will this change be more beneficial for Churchill County Schools or should the state have more give and take when dealing with individual school districts?
As of the time of this submission, this is a statewide work in progress. Under the most current details, Churchill would not lose money per pupil. The bigger picture is that while education has been underfunded, we have a statewide committee who is listening to small and large districts to try to determine a fair and equitable formula for funding. Funding, especially under COVID, is fluid.
As long as legislators and districts work together to strive for equity between small and large districts and to serve diverse populations, we must be flexible to see what these committees bring. Again, under the current formula, Churchill is a “small winner” which means that there isn’t a negative impact to their formula. Patience, diligence, and informed conversation must lead this work as it moves forward.
I would be proud to serve the board and ChurchillCSD on this committee as I have many years of budgetary experience as well as many connections to individuals at NDE and at the state level.
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?
Outsourcing is tricky. I understand some of the reasons behind outsourcing (releasing staffing issues…from management to front line…and potential opportunities for cost savings). In my experience with food service, ChurchillCSD employees were allowed to remain ChurchillCSD employees. New employees were hired through the new organization. We do not want our ChurchillCSD employees to have to leave ChurchillCSD, because resigning from the district would impact PERS. Quite simply, ChurchillCSD should never outsource because it’s easier.
ChurchillCSD needs to look at what is best for students and the community through the lens of the vision and values, and decide from there. I could be in favor of outsourcing if the physical outcomes are better, the monetary outcomes are better, and there is some sort of a “grandfather” way to allow employees with longevity not to lose PERS. Lastly, we cannot outsource without key items written in a contract. These could include penalties if services are less than anticipated. Honestly, students need transportation and clean schools. We need to look at janitorial and transportation services as a whole, through the lens of why we are here, and make appropriate decisions from there.
If and when the coronavirus pandemic has disappeared, should the school district retain both online and in-person instruction?
The pandemic will disappear. Regardless of community health incidents, schools exist to create optimal student outcomes. A school board exists to manage the improvement of community-defined student outcomes. ChurchillCSD needs to continually hear what all believe are the vision and values for students.
The school board acts on these, not on personal opinions and politics. Parents need voice and choice. For some, digital learning could be the best option for a student’s outcomes, but it is not the answer for all. Teachers selected for digital learning must be chosen, not force transferred. There are some teachers who will excel in person, and others who will excel online. I personally do not believe distance learning is the answer for most.
Schools exist to help families develop future citizens. Social Emotional Learning, physical time with peers, athletics, and interpersonal skills such as collaboration and negotiation need to happen daily and in-person. Screens hinder some emotional contact. However, I do believe all parents know their children best, and they need multiple options for education. Then, I believe all kids (or nearly all kids) need schools. Students deserve quality teachers no matter which platform they choose.
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?
I have worked for WNC, and I totally am a fan of its programs. WNC serves our community well. Truly, the college track is one path that we want our students to consider. The career path is another. We cannot shove students more to one path than the other, especially in Nevada where service, manufacturing, and technology jobs are on the rise, just to name a few.
WNC offers a great collaborative plan for some of our students, but we must remember that it isn’t the answer for all. I am in favor of having the college prep program as large as we have a student demand to match it. WNC has also supported classes for career path courses. I believe we need to support that path as well. I believe ChurchillCSD’s partnership with WNC should support as many courses for BOTH college and career paths as we can foster. The collaboration in both paths is a win-win for the school district and the community in general.
I believe ChurchillCSD should look at student and community interests and demands and allocate resources (physical, human, and monetary) accordingly.
School districts across the state have experienced problems in hiring staff and then keeping them in the rural setting. As a trustee, what would you do to help Human Resources attract more educators and keep them in Churchill County?
In my role as Principal and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, I attended many job fairs recruiting teachers. It’s been a specialty of mine. In the process, I have learned that prospective teachers need someone to give them great reasons to come. Recruiting staff must let them know the great things here in Northern Nevada.
Once here, great staff and community members need to help support them and help them learn our great area and make it a home. I came to Nevada “for one year” and have now been here for over 30 years. As a school board member, I would be willing to go recruit teachers, to help make digital resources for recruiting, and would be in support of long-term tiered bonuses to get and keep qualified, effective teachers.
A second action step would be to develop leaders from within so they do not leave. Finally, we need to continually praise and reward our current staff. Recruiting is key for growing our staff. Retaining our high-quality teachers is equally important. Keeping great teachers in our great town should naturally be happening as long as we are doing our job to take care of them every day.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of our current school system?
ChurchillCSD has several strengths, but the biggest strength is in its human capital. People are our biggest strength. With over 85% of the school budget coming from salaries, we have to spend this money well. Taking care of our people will allow us to continue to grow and continue to be great. That being said, one weakness that ChurchillCSD has, is the ability to meet the differentiated learning needs for staff. Just like students in Fallon, staff has individual skills, abilities, and needs.
Veteran teachers’ needs are different than a new teacher. Even when new initiatives are rolled out, some teachers will learn those quicker and easier than others. The district must differentiate as much as (if not more than) what is necessary and required for teachers to do with students. The one-size-fits-all approach to professional development cannot be one that ChurchillCSD implements. Instead, we must work to reach every teacher at their individual growth need.
We need to continue to allow teachers ample time to learn through collaboration, data analysis, peer learning, and job embedded professional development. These investments will reap benefits for students.
What is the one biggest change, issue, improvement you would like to see occur or would you advocate for during your term on the school board?
There is not “one biggest change” that I would want. To me, “one biggest change” is selfish and based on my personal opinion and perspective. As an elected official, my personal opinion doesn’t matter. It is the opinion of the citizens of our community. But the issue is even bigger than that.
Given ANY 4-year term, life brings change. Think of even the past 4 years. Legislative changes have caused work to be done, COVID has impacted students, and coming forward, budgets are going to be impacted, not to mention the changes in technology that will impact education and life in general. COVID has created a great deal of work and stress upon students, families, staff, and the community.
Staff has made multiple changes with hours of work that should be recognized and honored. In the next 4 years, I want the community to have say, I want students to be healthy, learning, and thriving, and I want to see healthy growth in the entire ChurchillCSD organization. We need all staff and students to learn and grow. We want students to become productive citizens. We want a healthy thriving community.
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?
Communication with stakeholders is a job component of a school board trustee. A trustee must listen to the school community to understand its vision and values, then, work to implement the vision and values, monitor progress, and communicate back to stakeholders. Visiting schools to talk to teachers, and observing (as invited), is important.
Two way communication is paramount as well. Observation would be to see “the great” in our schools…not as evaluation. Evaluation is the responsibility of principals. Fallon is a small town. We run in to each other, and we visit. It is important to listen to everyone. It’s easy to listen to those who are the loudest, but we need to seek out the opinion of those who are quietly fulfilling the vision and mission of ChurchillCSD. We need to seek out more opinions, and not be afraid to ask for and analyze a variety of data and facts. I am in favor of visiting schools. I want to provide times to visit schools that are optional for staff participation. As a public servant, my job is to listen, to be available, and to carry information to the whole board.
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?
The decisions we make in life always are filtered through what we believe. However, as a school board member, the charge we all have is to make collective decisions based on the community as a whole. If I were to have a disagreement with the board, my question would first be, does my opinion match the community as a whole or do I need to rethink?
If board members bring a compelling argument to the group in a board meeting that I had been in opposition to, but understand, I would need to take that reasoning back to the Fallon community. In reality, the biggest function and responsibility here is honest communication and true listening (We all have two ears and one mouth). The board’s duties are to listen to the community and act on the community’s desires (not those of other board members or the Superintendent).
As an elected official, my job would be to stand for the community’s voice. In the event that my opinion is in opposition to other board members, my job would be to seek to understand, to work to bring common understanding to all, and to vote for what’s right for kids.
What would your support level be for maintaining or improving the Career and Technical Education programs at the high school and middle school?
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is not only critically important in our community, but it is a state mandate. Students need the opportunity to graduate with a CCR (Career and College Readiness) diploma. I am in complete support of not only sustaining, but also improving and increasing opportunities for students to participate in CTE programs.
In Nevada, many jobs have doors open through successful CTE programs. ChurchillCSD must listen to Nevada’s industries and provide courses that meet current and future skill-based opportunities. We have WNC and many local businesses ready and able to partner with the school district to make this a success. ChurchillCSD needs to not only develop their CTE program, but we need to work to have a model CTE program in the state.
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