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Teacher files for school board

by Merrie Leininger

A Douglas County teacher who has called himself a thorn in the district’s side filed Tuesday to run for school board trustee.

Randy Green, 48, has been a teacher in Douglas County for 23 years. He currently is a government teacher at Douglas High School. His wife, Karen, has taught at Carson Valley Middle School for 10 years.

Green applied to be appointed to the school board in November 1998 after Diane McCoy quit. The board agreed to interview him, even though the district’s attorney, Tom Susich, and some school board members voiced their opinion that because he is a teacher, he could not sit on the board, according to state statute. They feared he would have a conflict of interest because the board makes decisions which affect teachers’ contracts and salaries.

Green said he believes state law allows him to run for a seat on the school board for which he works. However, if he is elected, he would take the issue to the courts for a decision. Green said he wants to assure everyone he will not resign.

“My contention is the statute is inconsistent with statutes that apply to county commissioners or legislators or board of regents. The statute specifically speaks to not having any financial interest in any contract that comes before the board. The other inconsistency I see is there are two board members who are spouses of school district employees,” Green said. “The statute specifically says any interest. I’m arguing we all should be allowed to run and the electorate should decide who they want to be on the school board.”

Green said because he has reached the top of the salary scale, there is not much he could do during any contract negotiation to influence his own paycheck.

“I would be glad to abstain from any vote in which people viewed I had a conflict of interest. It’s established and pretty much set in stone, so after you get to 20 years, there’s not much interest you can have in a contract past that time.”

The board voted to make John Raker a board member in December 1998. Raker has not yet filed to run for the seat he currently holds.

After that 1998 meeting, Green said he would continue to voice his opinions at school board meetings.

Early Tuesday, Gardnerville Elementary School Principal on special assignment Kirk Cunningham announced he would run for Raker’s seat. However, he withdrew when told Green would be running and said he would throw his support behind Green.

Green said his decision to run comes from his responsibility as a citizen of this community.

“There are a lot of my ex-students I consider friends in the community. I feel connected to it and I care a lot about it,” he said. “Both of my children are grown. I’ve completed that task to some degree. Now it is time to serve my community. My whole life has been in education – it’s the one area I feel I have a contribution to make.”

The Greens have two children who graduated from DHS, Kelley, 21, and Kaycee, 19. Green has also coached basketball for the school.

Green, who lives in the Ranchos, said he is concerned with the competencies and the wedge it is driving between teachers and administrators.

“The first issue that needs to be resolved is the widening gap between administration and the teachers. Obviously, everybody assumes I’m going to loyally and uniformly support the teachers and that’s not true. One thing I’ve learned studying government is these issues are complex,” he said.

Green said he has been involved in writing the competencies and understands the need for them, but feels the district is not implementing them effectively.

“I understand the need to be more accountable, but sacrificing learning is not worth it. If there’s not that supervision in place, then eventually, we are going to run into problems,” he said.

Teacher supervision in the classroom would solve a lot of these problems, Green said.

“A year ago, I was supervised for 10 minutes in late May out of 180 teaching days. One of the things that site level people are responsible for is creating a learning environment for students. We need to create an environment at the site levels where administrators really help teachers to prepare themselves to be better teachers.”