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Washoe County School District names Kristen McNeill as superintendent

Jackie Valley
Jackie Valley
The Washoe County School District's logo as seen on an office building

The Washoe County School District’s search for a new leader has ended where it began — with Interim Superintendent Kristen McNeill.

The Washoe County Board of Trustees appointed McNeill to the superintendent post on Tuesday, providing leadership consistency as the school district navigates the uncharted education territory precipitated by COVID-19. Her appointment, which happened during a virtual board meeting, is pending contract negotiations.

Kristen McNeil
Washoe County School District interim Superintendent Kristen McNeill answers a question during an IndyTalks forum at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Oct. 30, 2019. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

“In recent weeks, with the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, we all have witnessed her ability to adapt to fast-changing situations, mobilize our District staff members, and lead the way in creating new ways of teaching, learning, and supporting students in our District,” Board President Malena Raymond said in a statement. “We have heard positive feedback from our District family and our community, and with more challenges on the horizon in the short- and long term, we know she has the skills necessary to lead our District while always keeping student success at the forefront of our mission.”

The superintendent position became open after the board terminated the district’s prior leader, Traci Davis, in July over leaked confidential information. Davis, who later filed a lawsuit against the district alleging wrongful termination, has since taken a teaching position in the Clark County School District.

McNeill, meanwhile, became the Washoe County School District’s interim superintendent, filling the role at a rocky point in employee morale and trust. She had previously served as deputy superintendent.

But McNeill’s journey with the Reno-area school district began long before then. She joined the district as a teacher in 1996 and went on to become a principal before holding several administrative roles, including chief of staff in 2012.

McNeill holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration and a master’s degree in instructional and curricular studies from UNLV. She received her doctorate of educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.

“I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for our District,” McNeill said in a statement. “Working together, I am confident that we can continue to address the needs of our students, families, and staff members while working to improve and build upon our successes. This is a difficult time for our community and our world, but we have some truly exceptional professionals working to support our students and families, and I know our team is up to the task.”

This story has been updated to correct a name spelling.


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