It’s been a little more than a week since the Washoe County School Board fired Superintendent Traci Davis, and with roughly a month until schools across the county reopen for the fall, many parents, teachers and students have been left wondering how the upheaval will affect the new school year. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Kristen McNeill, the district's interim superintendent about the recent changes, and how she plans to improve some of the issues facing the district.
“I think the climate is one of, and we're working on that on a daily basis, uncertainty,” says McNeill. "They want to know you know who's in charge, who's at the helm. So, I think -- within the events of the last week and coming into Monday -- that's the job of an interim superintendent, to make sure that people know that there is somebody at the helm. That somebody is experienced, and that we're going to be moving forward."
One of the biggest issues facing the district may be low teacher morale. During the special Board of Trustees meeting, several teachers came forward voting criticism toward Traci Davis’ leadership style — claiming that district leadership created a culture of intimidation and bullying. McNeill says it’s going to take open dialog to mend some of those relationships.
"You know, I've been putting out daily communications to our staff,” she says. "I've been responding on a personal level to many of the people that have emailed back, and really it's just telling people we've heard you. I serve with honesty and integrity and I expect our leadership team to do the same. We met last week. I talked a lot about expectations as a team and I think people want to hear that. You know, there is a trust that's been breached and we need to fix that. We need to fix that as a leadership team. We need to fix that as a district. So really, it's just making those very personal connections on a daily basis."