New school board member takes seat

The only applicant for the position for school board member for District 1 got the job in the Douglas County school board's regular meeting Tuesday.

Karen Chessell, 45, a Johnson Lane area resident, was sworn in just in time to participate in the superintendent search.

The District 1 seat was vacated when Ron Beck resigned to run for school superintendent.

Chessell said she is willing to listen to people and share ideas as a member of the school board.

"I want to be a resource for the community and not be on my own agenda," she said. "My heart is with the average student. I want to be an advocate for the students with a lot of potential but who don't know how great they are. They don't get noticed and they need someone to be behind them to push them. I'll keep an eye on that."

Chessell works at the Nevada Department of Education as a consultant for family and consumer sciences in the office of career, technical and adult education. She has been in education for over 20 years. Besides working in family and consumer sciences, Chessell taught math and health and safety classes.

Chessell grew up in Newport Beach, Calif. and earned a bachelor's degree in home economics education from Brigham Young University. She holds a master's degree in educational administration at California State University, Long Beach.

Chessell moved from her previous home and job in Las Vegas to work at the Nevada Department of Education in 2004. She is married and has three children.

"We all came up for the interview with DOE and I told the children they could decide if we were going to move here," she said. "My husband had a real estate agent take us around and within half a day, they were saying 'when we move.' The children adjusted to this area very fast. When we moved here, they had friends within a day. We're really happy here."

Chessell describes her husband Bill Chessell as a "Mr. Mom" who is remodeling their home and works on their children's quads and motorcycles. The Chessell children include a son attending sixth-grade at PiƱon Hills Elementary School, a daughter attending ninth-grade at Carson Valley Middle School and a son in 11th grade at Douglas High.

"I care about young people," Chessell said. " I'm concerned about a great education for my own children. I've looked at the strategic plan - it's strong and academically focused."

"I'll speak up and ask a lot of questions," she about her new job on the school board.


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