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Transition, changes, competencies highlight 2000

by Scott Murphy, Staff Writer

Transition highlighted 2001 for the Douglas County School District Board of Trustees.

Dr. Pendery Clark, the district’s superintendent since 1992, left for the top job in the San Mateo-Foster City School District in San Mateo, Calif.

Clark announced her resignation in September and became superintendent in San Mateo in November.

John Soderman, the district’s assistant superintendent for personnel, was appointed interim chief in September.

Also, in November the board hired 4Administrators search firm, based in Placerville, Calif., to recommend Clark’s permanent replacement.

A new superintendent could be hired as soon as April 2002.

Clark’s tenure was highlighted by the implementation of the district’s controversial competencies program.

The Class of 2002 will be the first class required to meet the heightened guidelines of the competency program to graduate.

Clark’s departure was one of several changes in the school board and administration personnel.

In January, Douglas High School teacher Randy Green announced he would not appeal a December 2000 decision by District Judge Michael Gibbons that he could not take office as a school trustee and continue teaching government at DHS.

Trustee John Louritt, a part-time domestic violence-sexual assault caseworker at the Family Support Council, was appointed in March to fill the vacancy created after Gibbons’ ruling.

And in August, Connie Wennhold, a longtime volunteer at Gardnerville Elementary School, was chosen over Vicki Brockhage to replace Michele Lewis as the Area 6 board member.

Lewis left Douglas County for a job at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Also, at a December meeting, Board President Cheri Johnson alluded to 2002 being her “last year” on the board.

The next day, Johnson confirmed she will not run for re-election in 2002 after serving eight years in office.

Also, in August the board was cited by the state attorney general’s office for violating the state’s open meeting law when it hired Cissy Tucker in May as permanent principal at GES.

Trustees announced a vote on Tucker’s hiring as part of an addendum for the May board meeting, which was ruled as giving improper notice.

Tucker was officially hired by trustees during the board’s Sept. 11 meeting at Kingsbury Middle School.

Also, in December trustees formally ended Douglas County’s nearly decade-long use of its multi-track calendar system.

Trustees yielded to demands by divided educators for two separate calendars.

A year-round calendar, which is loosely based on the multi-track system was chosen for all Valley elementary schools.

Douglas County’s middle schools, highs schools and Zephyr Cove Elementary School will use a traditional calendar.

n Staff Writer Scott Murphy can be reached at murph@swiftnews.com