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Roman runs for school district; promises to shake things up

by Merrie Leininger

Keith Roman promises to shake things up and make changes to the Douglas County School Board if elected in November.

Roman, 59, has applied for area 7 against Charles Pullen, a systems training manager of hotel employees at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno. The seat is currently held by Randy Wallstrum, who is not running again.

Roman has lived in the Carson Valley with his wife of 32 years, Mary, since 1966. That is the year he started working for the school district as a teacher and coach. He retired four years ago from Douglas High School and continued to coach football and substitute teach until this year. He currently works in production and customer service at Kinko’s in Carson City. Mary is still a teacher at DHS.

Mary and Keith have three children, Brando, 28, Blair, 30, and Brodie, 19, who is graduating from DHS this year.

Keith said his experience in the district would be a big asset to him on the board.

“My experience teaching in the district for 30 years gives me a good feeling about the politics, the history and an understanding of the people. I really have a good feeling about the life blood of the district. I will not have to learn a lot about how the district works,” Roman said.

He said he feels the district needs to change, however.

“Primarily, I’m tired of seeing ill-conceived programs and policies imposed on the good citizens of Douglas County,” Roman said.

He said some programs that are positive have been cut, such as the elementary music program and physical education at the middle schools.

However, he said his focal point will be the competencies.

“My problem with the competencies is it is very complicated and is just too much to accomplish in three years,” Roman said.

He said he thinks the competencies should have been implemented in the current kindergarten through third grade classes so the students would be clear on what is expected from them and there would be time to work out kinks in the system.

From the teachers’ perspective – and Roman said he has talked to a few teachers at the high school – there is suddenly a lot of paperwork for which little or no system has been set up. He said he believes some students may not graduate just because of misplaced files.

“There are too many questions, too many loose strings. It will be a nightmare to keep track of,” he said. “There will be over 500 files for just the sophomores. It’s not clear about how this will get done. When so many teachers are saying this isn’t going to work, I think you have to listen to them.”

Roman gave the technology competency as an example. He said students’ keyboarding test results from their 7th and 8th grade years were not saved, so they will have to take those over again years after completing the class.

Roman said he also feels the district is overlapping with the state competencies and is simply being repetitive.

However, he wants to be clear he supports a benchmark system, but is against imposing it on this year’s sophomores. If they started with students in elementary school, they would have an opportunity for remediation throughout their school years, he said.

“The high school is becoming a remediation school. We have to have these kids go to summer school, and that’s OK, but now we need 16 summer school teachers and no one wants to do it,” Roman said.

Roman is also concerned about a teacher shortage he sees looming on the horizon.

“Within the next 10 years, 73 percent of the county’s teachers are going to retire,” he said. “It will be an unbelievable shortage and it’s going to leave Douglas County scrambling like crazy.”

Roman’s suggestion is to heavily recruit education students who attended school in Douglas County.

“These kids are going to look at Douglas County as something dear to them and want to come back. It might only be five kids a year, but it is a pool who have a good reason to come back here,” he said.

Roman also said the district should be encouraging teachers to become more involved with advising extracurricular activities and to encourage students to get involved.

“Anytime kids do something they don’t have to do is good. When they make it a habit, they become adults who are involved in their community,” he said.

Roman, who applied for a seat on the school board in 1998 but was not chosen, said he wants voters to know he will support the issues they are interested in.

“It is important to note I am for some change in the way things are getting done. I just feel I have to do this to provide some sort of choice. I’ll be outspoken for the issues of the people of Douglas County,” he said.