On Saturday, Nov. 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, both of Las Vegas, were among the many guests attending the Award Ceremony.

Lincoln County Superintendent Steve Hansen and assistant superintendent Pam Teel also attended and were on hand to receive honors given to Lincoln County, including the award as School Board of the Year.

The NASB press release said Lincoln County had been nominated by the White Pine County School District Board of School Trustees. “This award recognizes the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement. The Lincoln County Board of Trustees blends technology with learning, a practice made necessary in a District with approximately 1,000 students who live in small communities scattered across 10,637 square miles. That has been just one of its successes during recent years. The median income in Lincoln County is $31,979 and the county has an unemployment rate of 34 percent according to recent data. Although board members themselves come from diverse backgrounds, have unique personalities, and represent diverse generations and religions, the Board comes together to collaborate and work cohesively…with their diversities serving to make them a committed and cohesive unit. The Board tackles issues in ways that respect the value of District employees while keeping the goal of student achievement at the forefront of decision-making. In a rural community, the importance of knowing parents and engaging them in educational decisions is especially important. This Board consistently demonstrates its willingness to partner with parents and other members of the community to build on existing strengths. Recognizing that working to improve school effectiveness also improves community vitality and productivity, this Board faces the daunting task of seeking ways to make things better not just for kids but for the rural and remote areas where they live. This Board and superintendent exemplify the kind of cooperation and teamwork that result in increased opportunities for students and help boost their achievement and success.”

In addition, Wade Poulsen, of Alamo, was honored as the statewide Individual School Board Member of the Year. He had been nominated by the Elko and Lincoln County districts’ boards of trustees.

The NASB press release stated, “This 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. According to those who have nominated Wade for this Award, he is busy guy. His day job is managing the Lincoln County Water District.

“In this capacity, he works for the county commission. He is active all over the state of Nevada in water management issues. After work, he can be found as an assistant coach with the undefeated, nationally recognized Pahranagat Valley Panthers football team. He is a good neighbor and always lending a hand to help friends and neighbors. And, he is a dedicated member of the Lincoln County School Board. He is a regular at NASB professional development trainings and meetings. He can be counted on to share his valuable insight on a variety of topics, particularly the importance of governance and getting policy right. He serves as a mentor to new board members. He is not shy when he speaks with legislators about the needs of ALL Nevada students. He has attended meetings of the Interim Legislative Committee on Education and does not hesitate to explain the needs of rural districts to urban legislators while, at the same time, letting them know that he understands the needs of the large urban districts, too. Trustee Poulsen is always engaged and actively seeking ways to make things better not just for the kids but also for the community. He is not afraid of hard work. Those who know Wade know that he is passionate about what he feels is right. He will educate himself, get the facts, and then take a stand on what he feels is right and what his constituents also feel is right. The Association is stronger because of the work that Wade has done on behalf of his own School Board and also on behalf of NASB.”

Poulsen, the 2015-2016 NASB vice-chairman, later commented in a telephone interview he was surprised to be named for the award. He said he ran for the school board in 2009 because “I enjoy public service.” A former county commissioner, Poulsen said this is a way he can “serve the communities and serve the public.” In addition, he said his mother, aunt and mother-in-law were all teachers, “and I have always been education-minded and enjoy the kids, and I think our kids are our future, so you have to give them any help that you can to make their education better so they can be successful people in their lives.”