School District bids farewell to superintendent

A sign in a lawn along 10th Street expressed support for Superintendent Keith Lewis.

A sign in a lawn along 10th Street expressed support for Superintendent Keith Lewis.

It was a short and bittersweet meeting for the Douglas County School Board on Wednesday when Superintendent Keith Lewis’ voluntary resignation was approved 5-2.

Inclusive Education Executive Director Jeanette Dwyer was appointed as the acting Superintendent.

Trustees Katherine Dickerson, Tony Magnotta, Carey Kangas, Linda Gilkerson and President Susan Jansen voted to authorize Lewis’ resignation and authorize payments in accordance with his Employment Agreement. Trustee David Burns and Vice President Doug Englekirk were opposed.  

“I just want to say thank you,” said Lewis. “It was an honor of a lifetime. I have been blessed to lead the No. 1 school district in Nevada and to lead the employees, teachers and staff. It was an honor to work with them and I will never forget the time and energy dedicated by all.”

Lewis' legal counsel Thomas Beko said a series of events including the Oct. 6  meeting, where it was believed that Lewis was coerced led to Wednesday’s meeting.

“I want to stress that Lewis is making this request of his own free will and has not been forced into making it," Beko said.

Some of the alleged disagreements Lewis and the Board had are said to have started since the three new Board members were elected including the replacing of the district’s legal counsel, controversial policies and bylaws as previously reported.

The three board members elected last November have said that there have been several occasions where they and Lewis just did not get along.  

“Keith has never had an issue working with others, in fact those were some of his strengths,” said Becky Rugger during public comment on Wednesday.

Many comments supported Lewis in his decision to resign and thanked him for his dedication to the school district and wished him well.

“I would like to thank Mr. Lewis,” said Adrian Sawyer. “Thank you for seeing every individual as a person and not a dollar sign or a test score. Wherever you decide to go, they will be happy to have you.”  

Lewis dedicated 28 years to the Douglas County School District, starting as an elementary school  physical education teacher in 1995. After that, he worked at Piñion Hills Elementary School for nine years before becoming assistant principal at Carson Valley Middle School, then principal at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School. He was the Human Resource Director before becoming superintendent in 2020. Lewis has also coached many Douglas teams from 1998 to 2005. He was named 2022 Nevada 4H Sierra League Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Douglas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Before leaving the room, Lewis gave a heartfelt and tearful statement thanking the community and school district for their support.

“We are very humbled by the support of the Lewis family,” said Lewis. “I have a wife and kids who have had to sacrifice a lot because of my career and I am excited to be more a part of their lives.”

Dwyer said she has some pretty big shoes to fill as acting Superintendent.

“We wear completely different shoe sizes,” she said. “The last couple months have been very difficult and I support him (Lewis) in his decision. It’s hard to let him go, but I intend to serve the district the best I can.”

Dwyer has been Executive Director of Inclusive Education with the Douglas County School District for five years.

Inclusive Education provides resources and services to support teachers, students and parents to assist students to achieve high academic standards through diverse options and approaches.

Dwyer said she would be open to apply for the permanent position as Superintendent once the hiring process becomes open.


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