Michele Lewis wants to keep school board seat | RecordCourier.com

Michele Lewis wants to keep school board seat

by Merrie Leininger

Michele Lewis says she’s not finished working for the Douglas County School District.

Lewis was appointed to replace Mike Caryl who resigned in March 1996. She ran for the seat in 1996 election and won.

She now faces opponent JoJo Townsell for the 4-year, area 6 seat. The area includes Ruhenstroth, where she lives, Topaz, Fish Springs and east of East Valley Road.

Lewis said she can help the board see the district as a whole.

“I think I’m good at seeing the whole picture, or at least that’s what people tell me,” she said. “It is easy to pick out one problem or issue that needs to be changed, but we need to look at the whole district.”

For instance, she said, she would like the district to focus more on getting certain classes such as drafting and advanced mechanics in the schools, but knows some things must be compromised.

“We can’t be out for our own agenda. It has been frustrating at times for all of us, but we have to do what’s best for all students and be fiscally responsible,” Lewis said.

n Official mom. Lewis, 43, who wears a pin that claims she is the “official mom,” is the mother of two boys. Bryton, 9, is a 4th grader at Gardnerville Elementary and Cal, 14, is a 9th grader at Carson Valley Elementary.

She is married to Steven Lewis, the extension agent from the University of Nevada, Reno in this area.

Lewis was a vocational/agriculture teacher before she moved to Gardnerville in 1990. She then began working with a technology prep program with Western Nevada Community College, a program that creates links between the college and high schools.

It allows students to take college courses while still in high school.

In 1996, Lewis began working part time for the Future Farmers of America Nevada organization, coordinating all state activities and competitions.

Now she is helping set up the FFA Foundation to raise money for those activities.

Since school started Lewis has been substitute teaching at Reno High School as an agriculture teacher and said she is having a blast.

“I think I’d like to teach again someday,” she said.

n Insuring continued education. She said she would like the board to focus on helping students realize their continuing education goals early.

“My passion is seeing that the high school degree isn’t where education stops,” Lewis said. “What’s next isn’t necessarily a 4-year program, though. That’s not what is needed in the work force.”

Lewis cited statistics that the largest drop-out rate is college freshmen because this society stresses the need for university degrees for everyone.

“(Students) don’t have a broad enough understanding of what’s out there,” she said.

The district now has to find a balance between the admirable goal of raising standards and offering more electives and applied technical classes, “so we don’t lose students,” Lewis said.

She said she understands that Douglas County is a small district with a limited budget, so she would like to see more partnership with WNCC to achieve that goal.

“I really want to work towards a better relationship with WNCC so students can take advantage of those programs we can’t afford to offer,” she said.

n Making a difference. Lewis said although the board consumes a lot of time with monthly meetings, homework and keeping up with the Legislature, she hopes to continue as a member for one more term.

“When you feel like you’re making a difference, it makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “A couple of times I felt like I was making a difference in helping the district realize students need more opportunities.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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