2023 NASB Awards

Carson City School District and Trustees Highly Distinguished at State School Board Conference
Posted on 12/05/2023
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The Carson City School District and its governing board of trustees were highly distinguished at the Nevada Association of School Boards (NASB) Annual Conference in Las Vegas this past weekend. District employees and trustees were heavily acknowledged, earning nearly half of all the awards (7 out of 16 – in 13 categories) presented among the 17 districts statewide.

Once a year, NASB recognizes the achievements and contributions of school boards, school trustees, teachers, administrators, educational advocates and others from across the state of Nevada. There are more than 20,000 educators who teach approximately 486,682 students from more than 763 schools in the state of Nevada.

Bordewich Bray Elementary Principal Cheryl Richetta was honored as the NASB 2023 Administrator of the Year, Public Information Officer Dan Davis was honored as the NASB 2023 Board Support Person of the Year, Associate Superintendent over Educational Services Tasha Fuson was honored as the NASB 2023 District-Level Administrator Making a Difference, Trustee Richard Varner was honored with the NASB 2023 Executive Director’s Award, School Board President Laurel Crossman was honored as the NASB 2023 Individual School Board Member of the Year and Superintendent Andrew Feuling was jointly honored with Storey County Superintendent Todd Hess as the NASB 2023 Superintendent(s) of the Year. Additionally, the entire Carson City School Board of Trustees, Andrew Feuling and Executive Administrative Assistant Renae Cortez were honored as the NASB 2023 School Board Governance Team of the Year.

Additionally, Carson City School Board Trustee Mike Walker was elected as the president elect for the 2024 NASB Executive Leadership Team.

The Administrator of the Year award recognizes the invaluable service provided to Nevada’s children by professional school administrators. Determinations are based on multiple factors including length of service, school improvement and student achievement, unique contributions, effective professional development strategies for educational staff and innovative and successful practices, which have resulted in increased student achievement in the school, district or state. Cheryl Richetta, principal of Bordewich Bray Elementary School, has many positive attributes, but the few that truly make her shine (as noted from the NASB nomination application) include her therapy dog student engagement, her whole-student philosophy, her single-subject approach to teaching and her Wacky Wednesday staff morale campaign.

Principal Richetta is an administrator respected by her peers and staff. Her professionalism, investment in her students and staff wellness and her creativity to solve problems in the best interest of her students and staff exemplify her qualifications as an exceptional administrator.

Prior to her appointment as the new Principal of Bordewich Bray Elementary School, Mrs. Richetta served as vice principal at Fremont Elementary. Prior to that she served the district as the lead literacy specialist where she oversaw the district’s rollout of the Read By Grade 3 Initiative. She also simultaneously served as the summer school administrator for six elementary schools and as the ELA implementation specialist at Mark Twain Elementary. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Arizona State University (1997), a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) endorsement from Southern Utah University (2014) and a master’s in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University (2015).

Mrs. Richetta, is a leader who fosters an educational environment where students can learn and succeed. She has worked tirelessly to ensure her teachers and employees are helping reach those students and learn in their best way they can.

The Board Support Person of the Year award recognizes the vital role support staff play in working behind the scenes with local school board members and superintendents to facilitate board decision-making and activities to improve student achievement, extend family engagement, and enhance community awareness. Dan Davis has served as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Carson City School District since February 2017, but he has more than 20 years’ experience as a public relations professional. Most notably, Mr. Davis served as the PIO for Renown Health during the Reno Air Races crash of 2011 where he responded to an estimated 200 local, national and international media inquiries and requests within 24-hours and planned three separate press conferences in the days following the crash.

According to the nomination application, Mr. Davis has featured the Carson City School District in more than 600 total news stories (print, television, radio and online media sources) annually. Of those news media stories, Davis regularly earns the district more than $300,000 in positive media coverage annually. Among other duties, Davis also maintains more than a dozen social media sites (including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), which total nearly 15,000 followers, a 417% gain since 2017.

Although much of Davis’ efforts are focused on fun and positive aspects of education within the school district, there are occasions where he serves as a spokesperson during crisis or emergency situations. In November of 2017, seven high school students were involved in a deadly automobile accident that changed collective lives in one brief moment. Mr. Davis’ careful reporting and sensitive approach with several local broadcast TV stations brought comfort and hope to a shattered school and community. Davis’ wisdom and understanding of the human condition truly helped students, teachers and families rely on each other as the healing process began.

Pleased to live in his hometown, Davis benefits future scholars, doctors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, etc. among the school district he represents. Previous work experience includes Marketing Manager for Bayer Properties (The Summit), PIO for Renown Health and Associate with The Walton Group. He earned a bachelor’s from Brigham Young University in 2001 and later was accredited by the Public Relations Society of America in June 2016.

The District-Level Administrator Making a Difference award recognizes the invaluable service provided to Nevada’s children by professional school administrators who work at the district office and who impact learning and achievement. Tasha Fuson has served as the associate superintendent over Education Services since July of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic closed schools in March 2020, changing our educational processes overnight. As a result, Mrs. Fuson was required to engineer an instructional process spanning K-12th grade and created solutions for grading, taking attendance and providing instruction. Once she secured digital learning management systems for each level, she and her team trained and supported teachers in modifying curriculum and integrating technology in the hybrid model.

Providing high quality curriculum, assessment, and instruction takes constant attention and ongoing resources. The Carson City School District wants teachers to be the best they can be, and that takes ongoing professional learning in instructional strategies and pedagogical practices as well as aligned curriculum and resources. Teachers do not have enough prep time to do all of that on their own; it takes a team. Ed Services is that team. Mrs. Fuson has led the district on a path of continual improvement to close achievement gaps among students and innovate the district’s instructional practices in the classroom.

Through this work, she has introduced AVID to Carson City and has been slowly rolling it out to schools. Next school year, all schools in the district will implement the AVID Program, which provides a common framework for schools to align their systems to develop and provide a K-12 college and career readiness system.

Finally, Mrs. Fuson actively engages the community in the work she does. She is the chairperson of Goal 2 of Carson City School District’s Strategic Plan, Curriculum that Matters. She has shown great patience and grace in her interactions with others. She provides factual answers to questions posed by the community in a professional manner and has stayed focused on the best interest of students. She tackles challenges with ease and has vision to lead the district in meeting set goals.

The Executive Director’s Award is the only award offered exclusively by the NASB Executive Director Rick Harris, who has latitude in determining the criteria, which sometimes change from one year to the next. Richard Varner earned the honor because he became involved with NASB early in his career as a school trustee and has made special contributions to NASB and students in Nevada. The Executive Director noted as a retired law enforcement officer, Varner brings a well-balanced, respectful demeanor with a sole purpose of serving the NASB Board of Directors in the best interest of all students in Nevada.

Varner is known as a staple in Carson City through his frequent visits to district schools to speak with staff and students, attend school functions and stay informed on professional development training. Through his active involvement and personal ethics, Varner has earned trust throughout the District. He has an impeccable attendance record at all Board of Trustee meetings and conducts himself with the utmost professionalism. He is always well prepared for board meetings and continually engages through well thought out questions and recommendations. He is an active member of the NASB committees and is always willing to help wherever needed. He attends all professional development training and is well prepared for NASB meetings.

Previously Varner served as president of the Carson City School Board, leading the board through the hiring of a new superintendent. He is an advocate for student academic success and their social well-being. He accomplishes this while still keeping the fiscal health of the district at the forefront of his efforts. His background as a law enforcement officer and leader provides him the experience to understand the importance of being a responsible steward of public funds and trust. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the board and respects the opinions of all others.

The Individual School Board Member of the Year award recognizes the consistent use and development of effective boardsmanship skills and acknowledges productive involvement in raising the level of community support for schools and the promotion of leadership and successful practices, which improve student achievement while advancing the course of public education in the community, the district or the state. From the very beginning of her service as a trustee, Mrs. Laurel Crossman immediately distinguished herself as a competent and thoughtful member.

According to the nomination application, her professional skills and common-sense attributes identified her as an outstanding candidate to represent the Carson City School District as a NASB Director, an assignment she faithfully fulfilled from 2015 until 2018. She also served as NASB President in 2021 with service as President Elect in 2020 and Vice-President in 2019. She currently serves on the NASB Executive Committee. As with all of her board member duties, Crossman approaches her NASB assignments seriously and with the intent of fully representing the children’s educational needs in the state.

Mrs. Crossman is always well prepared, highly informed and ready to participate regardless of the venue. She has served on many committees within NASB, including the nomination and awards committee, training and professional development committee and the audit committee. Crossman has provided significant influence during NASB meetings where she plays a leadership role. She also represented Nevada as a delegate at the National School Board Assembly for several years. This assembly involves voting on beliefs, resolutions and bylaws adopted by the national board.

From 2016 to 2022, Crossman served as NASB’s representative on the State’s English Mastery Council (EMC). This Committee played a vital role in the State education English Language Learner (ELL) program. The Council reviewed the conditions, policies and regulations associated with teaching students who do not speak English as their native language. The EMC made recommendations regarding licensing requirements for teachers, instructional practices and policies for the state and individual districts, student and schools plan criteria, as well as standards and curriculum.

During her time on the EMC, she also served as chairperson for the District Policy and Criteria subcommittee. The committee annually reviewed all Nevada state school districts’ ELL policies to ensure compliance with the new criteria for such policies recommended by the EMC and adopted by the State Board of Education. Her skill with policy detail and adroit observations have contributed to the success of the work.

Mrs. Crossman has a proven track record of proficiency and success in her work. With good people skills, courage, a keen intellect and the ability and tenacity to accomplish any task, she has earned the trust and respect of both the teaching staff and administration in the Carson City School District and her colleagues statewide.

The Superintendent of the Year award recognizes the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement. Andrew Feuling has been the superintendent of the Carson City School District since July 2022 and has quickly proven to be an extraordinary asset to the students, staff and community. His financial expertise, teaching experience and empathy for the students, staff and families of Carson City were immediately felt and solidified him as the best choice for superintendent.

According to the NASB nomination application, Mr. Feuling’s financial expertise and involvement at the state level, his listening campaign and staff recruitment successes have made him shine. Previously, he was the district’s chief financial officer who successfully led the district through several years of financial hardship. While state funding was at an all-time low and many districts were struggling to maintain the necessary ending fund balances, Mr. Feuling always ensured the Carson City School District met its financial obligations while also maintaining a high level of student support. He brought this expertise with him as the superintendent, keeping the district financially stable even during its Hold Harmless period. He was also actively involved in the hiring and mentoring of the new chief financial officer.

Additionally, Feuling was a valued member of the state’s financial taskforce for school district funding, evaluating the pre-existing and now current funding formulas and testifying during legislative sessions. He continues to stay active at this level, ensuring every district in the state is well represented in the best interest of students. Feuling is a respected and effective lead administrator. His hands-on philosophy and approachable style of leadership is appreciated by the entire district and community partners. He understands the importance of and balance between academic success and mental health for all.

The School Board Governance Team of the Year award recognizes the vital role of local boards working hand-in-hand with superintendents and collaborating with district leaders to improve student achievement across all levels. In particular, the cooperation and trust between the school board and Mr. Feuling during his first year as superintendent helped them work together to effect significant improvements across the district by addressing staffing shortages, advocating for increased school funding, establishing and maintaining good relationships with the district’s employee bargaining groups and providing prompt support to address student behavior concerns.

The Governance Team of the Carson City School District has been and continues to be unified in its efforts. As stated in the award application, members are professional, engaged, friendly, interested and committed to the education of the community’s youth. The team encouraged and considered public input in all policy decision making by inviting feedback and suggestions. The Governance Team was also identified as a high functioning group of individuals whose personal accomplishments and qualifications blend together to create a cohesive team focused on providing the very best educational opportunities for the children attending its schools.

Additionally, the association elected four new officers for 2024:

  • President — Wade Poulsen, Lincoln County School District
  • President Elect — Mike Walker, Carson City School District
  • Vice President — Irene Bustamante Adams, Clark County School District
  • Legislative Chair — Diane Nicolet, Washoe County School District

Established in 1963, the Nevada Association of School Boards is dedicated to strengthening public schools through local citizen control. All 17 school districts in Nevada are members of the association, giving a common voice for public education.

Photo Cutline:
Left to Right: Trustee and School Board Clerk Lupe Ramirez, Trustee and NASB President Elect Mike Walker, Trustee Molly Walt, Trustee and School Board Vice President Joe Cacioppo, Trustee Richard Varner, Trustee and School Board President Laurel Crossman, Superintendent Andrew Feuling, Principal Cheryl Richetta, Public Information Officer Dan Davis, Executive Administrative Assistant Renae Cortez, Associate Superintendent over Education Services Tasha Fuson and Trustee Matt Clapham.