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WCSD school board members selected 3 finalists for Angie Taylor’s seat

3 Trustees Barred Reno Attorney Joey Gilbert from WCSD Board Consideration for Saying He Failed to Follow Application Requirements

Alex Woodley, a Reno city employee who was raised in poverty by his grandmother, was Tuesday’s standout candidate to replace Angie Taylor on the Washoe County school board.

Out of seven contenders for the seat, six made statements at the board meeting. Woodley, the City of Reno’s director of parking and enforcement, received the most votes. Five of the six board members elected him for the first election.

“I believe I can help ensure no child is left behind,” Woodley told the board.

Meghan Beyer, a staffer at the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and librarian Kellie Crosby-Sturtz also stepped forward for interviews at the next board meeting. The board is expected to vote on Taylor’s successor at the December meeting.

Trustee Beth Smith praised Beyer and Crosby-Sturtz.

“You did something that stopped me,” Smith said of Beyer’s resume. “I love that you put the years of raising your children on your resume.”

Smith said she loved that Crosby-Sturtz had charter school experience.

“We can learn from that,” Smith said.

Taylor resigned Monday night after questions arose about whether she could attend Tuesday’s board meeting as she was elected to the Nevada Convention. Voting for the midterm elections was considered complete on Monday. It is against state law to serve in two elected positions at the same time.

Woodley joined the Marines after high school, raised a daughter as a single father, and later graduated from college. He called his life experiences “privileges.”

“I’m an African American. I’m also bilingual Latino and a veteran of the great state of Nevada,” Woodley said.

“I was really looking for collaboration, the ability to work well with others, to be a team player,” Trustee Adam Mayberry said before casting his highest vote for Woodley.

Joey Gilbert, who had unsuccessfully challenged Joe Lombardo for governor in the Republican primary, received the most public comment in his favor, but only trustee Jeff Church listed Gilbert as a choice to fill the vacant seat.

“If you don’t identify the problems first, you don’t have a chance to fix anything,” Gilbert said.

He said he’s been to school board meetings for the past three years and heard a lot of fluff and praise.

“Nevertheless, we have the worst schools in the nation,” he said, citing low test scores, low salaries for teachers and coaches. School violence and chronic absenteeism.

Church said his choice was between Woodley and Gilbert.

“I think Mr. Gilbert would balance things out from a non-state position,” Church said. He and two other board members work in government offices.

Church said Gilbert, an attorney, brings private business experience.

Three trustees mentioned that Gilbert should be disqualified from consideration because he did not follow the application process correctly and did not submit all application requirements.

Adrienne Potter, who had filed a motion, did not appear at Tuesday’s meeting.