Featuring Newly Elected School Board Members

  • 2019-01-26, 10:28 PM
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Featuring Newly Elected School Board Members
By Kimberly Mardis – The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees has already met twice this year, and during the first board meeting held January 9th, two new board members took the oath of office along with two members who were re-elected in November. Fred Buckmaster, a long-time teacher for the district and Amber Getto, were elected for their first term, Matt Hyde was re-elected to his second term, and Carmen Schank her third. Fred Buckmaster was born and raised in Fallon, the son of Lou and Jan Buckmaster, educators who also served the community for many years. Buckmaster has taught for 23 years in the district, completing his studies at the University of Montana Western. He spent some time “cowboying” before coming home to Fallon and the field of education, and says there were “no suit and tie ordeals” for him. “I’ve always wanted to work for the district and make some kind of difference,” he said. Buckmaster is passionate about education, teaching a variety of vocation programs, but taking a shine to woodshop and agriculture classes. He also served for several years as an advisor of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. Buckmaster never got away from the cowboy lifestyle; an accomplished saddle maker, he and his wife collect antique bits and spurs, spend time restoring their farm property, and raise Border Collie puppies. Being raised in Fallon, and involved in so many activities over the years, Buckmaster says has a good understanding of the community. “I know most of the kids in the district, their parents, even their grandparents,” he said with a laugh. It is that understanding that he will bring to the board and the district over the next four years. Amber Getto, another first-time office holder, was disheartened last year to see how little interest there was in candidates running for office, specifically the school board. At the age of 43, and with support from several friends who suggested she file for one of the seats, she was elected and has just participated in her second official school board meeting. Getto said after her initial dismay at the interest in the election, she was very pleased to see how many people actually showed up to vote. “I was happy to see that educating our children is still a priority,” she said. Also born and raised in Fallon, Getto is married to John Getto and the mother of three sons. She and her husband have worked in the agricultural industry for 15 years. With the support and encouragement of her three sons, who each graduated from CCSD, she became a substitute teacher in 2015. Getto sees the value of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and says she would like to strengthen the CTE education in our district. “We need to get the students in our community ready for real life,” she said. “I like bringing back the vocational part of education, we need that. Our kids need that.” Matt Hyde is a true Fallonite. Born “in the 70’s” in the old hospital on Taylor Street, which is now the county office building, Hyde was raised by his parents, Willis and Janet Hyde and says that he was able “to grow up in the best town in America – Fallon.” Colored with great pride, Hyde said “I attended school here from K through 12th grade, graduating from the high school in 1991.” In high school he had a job working at Churchill County Telephone, the last county owned telephone company in the country. “I always knew that I wanted to work there full time, but at the time openings didn’t come up often.” After six years of applying, he went to work for what became CC Communications and has worked there for 21 years. In 1993, Hyde met his wife, Nichole, and after convincing her he was the catch of a lifetime, they married in 1994. Together they have four children who have each been educated in the district. Hyde’s passion for public education runs deep – his grandfather, Bob Tucker, was a member of the board of trustees in the 1960’s and his name is on the plaque dedicating the E.C. Best building. Hyde’s family supported his run for the board four years ago, and with his history of involvement in coaching for 20 years, it was apparent he had not only their best interest, but all the children in our community at heart. “I was concerned about the negative effect of the huge budget deficit looming over the district. I felt it was not a good environment for students when RIF (reduction in forces) notices had to be sent out and focus was shifted from the classroom to if teachers had a job or not.” “I ran for re-election because I wanted to keep our schools on strong and stable ground. Student achievement is number one over everything else. I believe in localized control of our schools. Every district has different needs.” Hyde said. “I believe if we make student achievement the #1 priority, our district cannot fail because our kids won’t fail.” Carmen Schank was just re-elected to her third term on the board of trustees. Prior to becoming a member of the school board, she was a school teacher in the district for 20 years. “I have a strong passion for education. I love it.” Schank is also a Fallon native, growing up in the days when each area of the valley had its own school – Lone Tree, Harmon, Stillwater, Old River. She said there was a very close relationship within the school communities when she was growing up, “between dinners and get-togethers the schools were a close-knit unit.” Originally appointed to fill a vacant seat on the board in 2012, Schank has served as a Trustee for seven years and has worked with four different Superintendents. She feels strongly that technology is important to education today, but is sensitive to the fact that not all students have access to electronic devices. “We need to be transparent and balanced,” Schank said. “I feel like I’ve helped a lot with that since being on the board. We also have an excellent safety rating.” She is a member of committees within the school district including the policy committee and the committee for the new gym. Schank says we have great schools in this community. “We find different pathways for different students, we really go out of our way for students, and our teachers are amazing,” she said. “Education is everything. It’s empowering. Our youth need education. They are going to run our society and they need a good understanding of how things are run.” The three members who are continuing their terms on the board are Kathryn Whitaker, Phil Pinder, and Tricia Strasdin. The Board of Trustees meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6pm at the Old High School at 690 S. Maine Street. Agendas can be found online at http://www.churchill.k12.nv.us/our-district/public-notices/board-of-trustees-agendas Kim Mardis has lived in Fallon for six years and with her husband shares eight children; three are currently enrolled in CCSD.  She loves to write and is currently working on her first novel.  This is her first "reporting" piece.  We are excited to have her on board.          
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