On Saturday, November 21, at its Annual Conference held in Reno at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, the Nevada Association of School Boards recognized the achievements and contributions of school board members, teachers, administrators, and others from across the State. In addition, the Association elected new officers for 2015-2016. Senator Becky Harris and Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury were among the many guests attending the Award Ceremony.

Courtesy photos Bob Dolezal, Mary Kerner and Paul Johnson with their awards at the Nevada Association of School Boards conference.

Courtesy photos
Bob Dolezal, Mary Kerner and Paul Johnson with their awards at the Nevada Association of School Boards conference.

This award recognizes the dedicated service of Nevada’s newest school board members. School boards may nominate members in their first term of service.

Mary Kerner holds the statewide record for completing her Certified Public Official program in record time. She is mid-way through her first term as a member of the White Pine Board and has been involved from day one. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the board regarding successful business practices and human resources. Her insight and professionalism have been invaluable to the District. As the parent of five children, Mary does an extraordinary job of balancing her role as a parent and her role as a board member—not always an easy task. Her insights and experiences as a parent also serve to

Paul Johnson and Jeff Zander of Elko with their Executive Director Award.

Paul Johnson and Jeff Zander of Elko with their Executive Director Award.

help the board when developing budgets and district policies. Mary has been involved on virtually every board committee and currently serves on seven committees. She has attended numerous NASB professional development activities and two National School Boards Association conferences. She has traveled with building level administrators and instructional staff to regional and national conferences. While her fellow board colleagues, the superintendent, and other district administrators have come to respect and rely on her knowledge and expertise, it is her ability to add the human touch that is most valued. Her enthusiastic attitude is contagious. At the annual meeting the Association also elected new officers for 2015-2016. Mary was elected as the Legislative Chair, so she also serves on the state board, not just our local one!

Bob Dolezal

White Pine County School District

Superintendent of the Year

This Award recognizes the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement.

One of the nomination forms for Bob Dolezal begins by posing this question: What do you get when you cross a Jimmy Buffet fan with a school superintendent? Here’s the answer: You get a guy who is happy-go-lucky all the time, grounded, resilient, extremely devoted to family, friends, hometown, schools, and who embraces a lifestyle like no other. He has been called the “Don” among superintendents. He leads from behind but needs no introduction. He is the T-Rex of superintendents and has the unique ability to keep one eye on the prize and the other eye on something else. Bob has served as superintendent in White Pine County for fifteen years.

During his tenure, the District has been recognized with two National Model School Awards from the International Center for Leadership in Education and two Magna Awards from the National School Boards Association—unheard of! The Board attributes these achievements to Bob’s support, innovation, leadership, and stamina. He listens to all, is innovative, self-sacrificing, and willing to stand strong when a difficult situation arises. When opinions differ and a difficult decision is required, he has the ability to preserve people’s dignity throughout the process. Although Bob would be the first to admit that he is not up with all of the terms related to technology, he is well aware of the importance of technology as it impacts the lives of students and everyone else. He has been a leader in upgrading the District’s technology infrastructure. Students have one-to-one devices and instruction, there are new computer labs for students in grades k-5, and new connectivity throughout the District. Bob understands the importance of the role of the superintendent in community service. He has served in the Ely Lion’s Club for more than ten years. He regularly speaks to community groups and has been involved with community economic development. Working with the Board, Bob implemented a four-day school week with community approval and saved the District countless dollars in substitute teacher salaries while increasing student performance. White Pine and the State of Nevada are lucky to have a leader with Bob’s passion and dedication to students.

Paul Johnson

Executive Director’s Award

Chief Finance Officer Paul Johnson [White Pine] and Superintendent Jeff Zander [Elko] received Executive Director Awards in recognition of their service during the 2015 Session of the Nevada Legislature on matters related to the Nevada Plan, the Distributive School Account, and school finance broadly. Both are recognized experts in these complex areas and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to provide data, to run scenarios, to thoughtfully consider proposals, and to testify when needed before legislative committees. Both could be relied upon to respond in a moment’s notice to requests for information and to provide that information with accuracy and within a historical context going back several decades. Their archival knowledge of school finance in the State is unsurpassed. Their work with the Nevada Association of School

Boards public policy advocates as well as with advocates representing other organizations ensured that policymakers were provided with thorough and accurate information throughout the Session and that the impact of actions could be explored before decisions were made.