Superintendent, school board reach deal on his departure

The offices of the Douglas County School District on Monday afternoon.

The offices of the Douglas County School District on Monday afternoon.

Superintendent Keith Lewis confirmed on Monday that he and the majority on the Douglas County School Board have reached a mutual agreement to terminate his contract.

Trustees are scheduled to meet 3 p.m. Friday at the Douglas High School Media Center to vote on the agreement under which Lewis would be paid for his contract.

“We have reached a mutual agreement for the board to consider exercising their right to terminate my contract without cause,” Lewis said in a text message on Monday afternoon.

Lewis said he would not be in attendance, but that his legal counsel will be there to represent his interests.

With the turnover in the school board as a result of last year’s election the new majority has been working to push Lewis out of the superintendent position, including hiring Joey Gilbert In July.

“Please understand that Mr. Lewis and the District came to this agreement in mutual understanding,” reads a news release to the Record-Courier from School Board President Susan Jansen. “Both parties found themselves at an impasse, and felt that the best way forward was to separate."

While only three trustees were elected in November, Jansen, David Burns, and Katherine Dickerson, trustee Doug Englekirk joined them to create a four-member majority.

In approving the contract in November 2022, Englekirk said he rated Lewis highly effective but didn’t give him the highest rank across the board.

“I think you’re doing yeoman’s work here,” he said. “It’s amazing to me the amount of stuff you bring to our attention.”

According to texts and emails revealed in and open records request, that was why Jansen was selected over Englekirk as president of the board.

That four-year contract set Lewis base salary at $175,000, which the district must pay, along with health insurance.

Because the separation is mutual, a clause in Lewis’ contract requiring he be given 90 days’ notice won’t go into effect.

“It is easy to understand why so many individuals would be saddened at the thought of his departure,” said Jansen. “Indeed, Mr. Lewis spend nearly 3 decades in DCSD and devoted not only his time and his efforts, but his heart and we thank him for his service.”

Lewis was named superintendent in May 2020 in the depths of the coronavirus outbreak.

Before his selection he’d served as executive director of human resources. He has worked for the district since 1995, when he was hired as an elementary school physical education teacher. When Piñon Hills Elementary School opened, he worked there for nine years before becoming assistant principal at Carson Valley Middle School.

He was principal at pau-Wa-Lu Middle School before being named HR director.

He has coached several Douglas teams, including the varsity girls softball program at Whittell High School and head boys basketball coach at Douglas High School from 1998 to 2005. He was named 2002 Nevada 4A Sierra League Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Douglas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

He’s a graduate of Boise State University, after graduating from Gardiner, Mont., High School in 1990.


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