Finalists named for top education department, charter authority jobs

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apple on deskThe candidate pools for two key education positions in Nevada have been narrowed to six each.

A Nevada Department of Education subcommittee on Tuesday finalized the six candidates for the state’s top education job. The State Board of Education will interview the group on March 12 and whittle them down to three candidates, one of whom will be appointed state superintendent of public instruction by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The candidates:

  • Brett Barley, a former deputy superintendent for student achievement for the Nevada Department of Education. He has been working as the superintendent of a charter school network in California since August 2018.
  • David Donaldson, an education consultant. He is the former associate chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, a controversial failed experiment that took underperforming public schools in Detroit and put them essentially in their own district.
  • Jhone Ebert, former chief innovation and productivity office for Clark County School District. She currently works as senior deputy commissioner for education for the state of New York.
  • Seng-Dao Keo, the director of the office of student and school supports. She is the lone internal candidate from the Nevada Department of Education.
  • Kristen McNeill, deputy superintendent for Washoe County School District.
  • Marion Smith Jr., executive director for learning improvement for Kent School District in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Two alternate candidates were also approved — Tammy Malich and Icela Pelayo. Malich is an assistant superintendent in CCSD. Pelayo is the director of operations for New Mexico Public Education Department. They will enter the race should any of the six finalists drop out.

Thirty-three people submitted applications for the position.

The next superintendent will succeeded Steve Canavero, who resigned last month, citing a desire for better work-life balance. Canavero emphasised in his announcement that he was not pushed out of the role.

Meanwhile, the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority board is scheduled Friday to interview six candidates for its executive director position. Like the state board of education, the charter school board will select their top three of six candidates and forward those on to the governor for a final appointment.

The candidates:

  • Eve Breir-Ramos, principal for Imagine Schools at Mountain View, a charter school under the authority’s umbrella. She is currently a board member of the Charter Schools Association of Nevada.
  • Rebecca Feiden, acting executive director for the Nevada Achievement School District. She lists Canavero, the most recent state superintendent and the charter school authority’s first executive director, as one of her references.
  • Mark Modrcin, director of authorizing for the charter school authority. He is one of two internal candidates the board is considering.
  • Katherine Poulos, director of leadership development for Boston-based Building Excellent Schools, which trains leaders of charter schools.
  • Sami Randolph, a former CCSD attorney whose most recent position was as associate general counsel for Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tenn.
  • Brian Scroggins, interim executive director for the state charter authority. He previously worked as deputy director for the authority.

Full resumes and cover letters for the charter school authority executive director candidates are available here.

The charter school authority has been without an executive director since late last year, when Patrick Gavin resigned from the position.

April Corbin
Reporter | April Corbin is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. Most recently she covered local government for Las Vegas Sun. She has also been a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of its student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April serves as treasurer of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter and is an at-large member of the Asian American Journalists Association. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise. She lives with her boyfriend, his toddler, three mutts and five chickens. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, exploring Nevada and defending selfies.


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