She calls herself just a farm girl from Ohio, but Carson City School District's superintendent was recognized recently as a leading advocate in education.
Mary Pierczynski, superintendent for Carson City schools the past five years, was named superintendent of the year by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents.
Pershing County Superintendent Dan Fox, Lyon County Superintendent Nat Lommori and former Clark County Superintendent Carlos Garcia were on the selection committee.
John Soderman, superintendent of the Douglas County School District, said Pierczynski's efforts as an education advocate have been far-reaching.
"She's an outstanding representative of us as superintendents and educators in general," he said. 'She's a great person to represent Nevada education."
Charlotte Petersen, president of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents, said Pierczynski was chosen as superintendent of the year for her efforts during the 2005 Legislature and for her service to the board of superintendents as vice president.
The selection committee is composed of former superintendents of the year. Fox was last year's choice.
Pierczynski, a native of Ohio, came to the Carson City School District in 1987 as a guidance counselor at Carson High School. She held that position for three years then served for one year as a dean of students for Carson High School.
"I was very surprised," she said about being chosen superintendent of the year. "It was nice to be honored."
Pierczynski was assistant principal at Carson Middle School for four years, principal at Eagle Valley Middle School for 21Ú2 years then moved to the district office, where she was head of curriculum for a year and head of human resources for three years. When former Superintendent Jim Parry retired, she replaced him.
"As a child, I always wanted to be a teacher," she said. "I did teach high school in North Carolina for 10 years before I came here."
She also has experience in the corporate world related to one of her hobbies - flying. Before coming to the Carson City School District, she worked for 10 years for Minneapolis-St. Paul based Republic Airlines, now part of Northwest Airlines. She was flight attendant manager for eight of those 10 years and oversaw 1,200 flight attendants.
"I am a private pilot," she said. "I haven't flown, myself, for a long time."
She received her bachelor's degree from St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Ind.; her master's degree in history from Ohio State University; a master's degree in guidance counseling from East Carolina University; and a doctorate in school administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.
The Nevada Association of School Superintendents, which meets monthly in the Washoe County School District offices, has its superintendents serve in various two-year, rotating positions on its board. Pierczynski will become president for the 2006-07 year.
She is eligible to be chosen as national superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Superintendents, of which the Nevada Association of School Superintendents is part.
Pierczynski is also a certified financial planner. She received that certification from the College for Financial Planning in Denver.
She has had a lifetime of working hard.
"I grew up in Ohio on a farm," she said.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.