Ex-CHS principal takes over Storey County schools

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dr. Ron Slaby is the new superintendent for the Storey County School District.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Dr. Ron Slaby is the new superintendent for the Storey County School District.

It's not hard to understand the eclectic, new superintendent of Storey County Schools' move to a place as full of character as Virginia City.

"Everywhere you go out here, it's the history of Nevada and the history of the West," Dr. Robert Slaby said.

Slaby, 57, was principal of Carson High School from 1980 to 1986.

In 1986, he had applied for the same position and was selected as a finalist - but with some strings attached.

"Part of the job was they required you to live up (in Virginia City)," he said. "We had just bought a home in Carson City, and we were unwilling to move."

He began looking for a position as superintendent elsewhere in Nevada, but was told he needed experience. This spurred him on a new hunt for experience.

The superintendent position he landed was in Middletown, Calif., in a district where he had worked for nearly eight years. Later, he became superintendent for the Redding School District then the Salinas School District, both in California.

"As superintendent, you're dealing with people. It doesn't matter the size or the locality," he said. "You're dealing with people."

A year after retiring from Salinas and also after teaching at Berkeley, he returned to Nevada to apply for the superintendent's position in Storey County School District, this time with 18 years of superintendent experience.

Now, as replacement to former Superintendent Henry Kilmer, Slaby has a lot of work, including figuring out with the school board how to best spend the $4 million in bond money Storey's voters passed last year.

"We're fixing the roof on the high school right now," he said." The middle school needs to be retrofitted for earthquakes."

He also wants to move the school district offices into a building the district owns so taxpayers' money isn't going to rent.

"I want to get a situation where we stop paying rent and own the property we're in," he said.

Slaby's education and career adventures leading him back to Nevada are extensive.

When he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, Slaby's ceremony was canceled because of the riots at Kent State University.

Later, when he graduated from the University of Southern California, many classmates waited for then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to leave office so that Reagan's name wouldn't appear on their diplomas. But Slaby didn't care.

That diploma, along with three others, now hangs on the brick wall of his upstairs office in the rented B Street building.

Slaby has a bachelor's degree in zoology from Berkeley; a master's in education from Occidental College in Los Angeles; and a master's in biology and a doctorate in education, both from the University of Southern California.

Slaby once taught advanced-placement biology, chemistry and computer technology as well as football, baseball and girl's softball at Beverly Hills High School, where one of his students was William Shatner's daughter.

He also previously taught at Clovis West High School in the Clovis Unified School District in California for two years. The school was so focused on student success that instead of being called a vice principal, Slaby's title was "learning director."

Since Slaby became superintendent in Storey County on June 15, he and his spouse have been looking for a home in Virginia City. They are in closing on a house now.

"This is Nevada's past," he said of his new school district. "And also if you look to northern Storey County, it's also Nevada's future."

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.


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