John Raker seeks to keep seat on school board |

John Raker seeks to keep seat on school board

by Merrie Leininger

Douglas County School Board Trustee John Raker said he is eager to continue work he started December 1998 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board.

Raker, along with Trustee David Brady, filed to retain their seats Monday.

“(I have) a sincere interest in the education of our children. I want to be an active participant in my own children’s education and the best way to teach them is by my own example,” Raker said.

His children are Lisa, 14, and Michael, 11. Raker’s wife, Maria, is a teacher’s aide at Scarselli Elementary School. She is planning to go to work for her husband as a receptionist at his insurance business.

Raker has been an agent for State Farm since 1983. But his roots are deep in education. His grandmother, Sarah Olds, raised six children – four of whom became teachers – on a homestead near Pyramid Lake. In the early 60s she wrote a book “Twenty Miles from a Match” about her life as a Nevada pioneer. The book is used as a historical record of the early days of Nevada, and is going into its fourth printing, Raker said.

Raker’s mother was a teacher, but she and his father died in a car accident when he was 8 and he was raised by his aunt, Jessie Hill. When Raker moved in with Aunt Jessie in Winnemucca, she was the principal and the 5th-8th grade teacher at a one-room school house in Imlay, Nev.

He finished high school in Winnemucca and earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Raker moved to Minden in 1993 from Winnemucca. He said he brings a business perspective that is a needed element on the board.

For example, Raker said, he brought attention to the fact that DCSD had no earthquake insurance on any of its buildings.

“We live in one of the most active earthquake areas in the county. I invited a speaker to come from UNR and as a result, the board will be addressing that issue,” he said.

Raker said issues he thinks will need to be addressed are implementation of the strategic plan, planning for future growth in the community and resolving communication problems between teachers and administration.

“It’s my feeling that as the result of poor leadership of the teacher’s union, we’re at this impasse. The union’s leadership appears to have a hidden agenda,” Raker said. “I hope both negotiation teams will resolve these issues and get on to the new contract. Then some new leadership can come into the teacher’s union and a much more open, cooperative relationship can be formed for the benefit of all, especially the students.”

Douglas High School teacher Randy Green has filed to run against Raker for the area 4 seat. Green interviewed to be appointed at the same time as Raker.

Raker said the learning curve is very large for the school board members, and at a year and a half, he is about halfway through.

“I’m familiar with many issues and the background and want to apply that experience,” he said.