New Leadership Roles

New Leadership Roles for Carson City School Board
Posted on 01/12/2022
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The Carson City School District is pleased to announce new leadership roles for the School Board of Trustees. At their first meeting of the year Tuesday, Jan. 11, Richard Varner, District 4, was named the newest president of the Carson City School District Board of Trustees. He replaced former President and Immediate Past President Joe Cacioppo, District 7, as the school board’s leader. Trustees Laurel Crossman, District 2, and Lupe Ramirez, District 1, were also named vice president and clerk, respectively. Crossman replaced former Vice President Varner and Ramirez replaced former Clerk Crossman. Each of the three leaders will serve one-year terms on the Carson City School Board.

The 2022 School Board Members include alphabetically by last name Joe Cacioppo, District 7, member, Donald Carine, District 6, member, Laurel Crossman, District 2, vice president, Lupe Ramirez, District 1, clerk, Richard Varner, District 4, president, Mike Walker, District 5, member, and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch, District 3, member.

Superintendent Richard Stokes and the Carson City School Board of Trustees also took time to graciously acknowledge the effort and time contributed over the past year by the outgoing leadership, specifically, Mr. Joe Cacioppo as the immediate past president.

Later on in the meeting, trustees were appointed to serve on various committees and associations including the following for the ensuing year.

  • Director on the Nevada Association of School Boards – Mike Walker
  • Alternate Director on the Nevada Association of School Boards – Richard Varner
  • Member, Carson City Parks & Recreation Committee – Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Debt Management Commission – Richard Varner
  • Partnership Carson City – Lupe Ramirez
  • Legislative Liaison – Laurel Crossman and Joe Cacioppo
  • Representative(s) to Superintendent’s School Naming Committee – Mike Walker and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Representative(s) to Superintendent’s Joint Advisory Committee – Donald Carine
  • Representative to Carson City School’s Foundation – Richard Varner
  • Representative(s) to Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) – Lupe Ramirez and Laurel Crossman
  • Representative to the Emergency Operations Development Committee – Joe Cacioppo

Action was also taken to appoint trustees to serve as Individual Liaisons to schools within the district. Those assignments include the following.

  • Carson High School – Stacie Wilke-McCulloch and Lupe Ramirez
  • Pioneer High School – Joe Cacioppo
  • Carson Middle School – Richard Varner
  • Eagle Valley Middle School – Donald Carine
  • Bordewich Bray Elementary School – Richard Varner
  • Empire Elementary School – Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
  • Fremont Elementary School – Laurel Crossman
  • Fritsch Elementary School – Laurel Crossman
  • Mark Twain Elementary School – Mike Walker
  • Seeliger Elementary School – Lupe Ramirez
  • Early Childhood – Mike Walker

Richard Varner has resided in Nevada since 1960, graduating from Yerington High School. He served two tours in Vietnam as a crew chief on a helicopter gun ship and later spent 41 years in law enforcement. He maintains more than 30 years supervisory and management experience. He earned a degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy.

He began his career as a Deputy for the Lyon County Sherriff’s Office before joining the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS) Investigation Division where he worked as a narcotic investigator, narcotic task force supervisor and supervisor of the Major Crimes Unit along with numerous other positions. During his 27-year tenure at DPS, he also served as a Deputy Chief of the Investigation Division, Deputy Chief of Parole and Probation Division and retired as a Major at the Nevada Highway Patrol. After retiring from the DPS, he served nine years as the Chief of Police for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

He has had the pleasure of serving as a member of the Governor’s Crime Commission and the Attorney General’s Methamphetamine Task Force. He has also served as the president of the Nevada Association of the FBI National Academy Associates and served four years as the president of the Nevada Tribal Police Chief’s Association and two years as the vice president of the California Tribal Police Chief’s Association. He and his wife have four sons and eight grandchildren, five of whom currently attend Carson City schools.

Laurel Crossman, a 1991 Carson High School graduate, has served on the board since 2012. During her first four-year term, she held the positions of member and clerk. During her second term, she served as vice president in 2016, and in 2017, she was elected school board president.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and later earned her juris doctorate from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School on the same campus. She practiced law in Utah for two years. She is the proud mother of five boys, all of whom are products of the Carson City school system. She has served on various PTAs in many capacities at Fritsch Elementary and Carson Middle School and currently serves as the Communication Director for the Carson City Nevada Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additionally, she was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval and reappointed by Governor Steve Sisolak to serve on the English Mastery Council since 2016. She was awarded Nevada Association of School Board (NASB) Director of the Year in 2018, and recognized with the Hank Etchemendy Advocacy Award by the Nevada PTA in 2016 for her work developing a board policy regarding elementary recesses. She also currently serves as the immediate past present of NASB and was president, president elect and vice president previously.

Lupe Ramirez earned an associate’s degree in Applied Science from Western Nevada College (WNC) and later a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Western Governors University. She also attended Coleville High School, Coleville, Calif., where she overcame many cultural barriers including learning English as a second language.

After a 32-year trajectory at WNC, she retired from her position as the Latino Outreach Coordinator and set new goals. As a retiree, she continues serving as a School Trustee for the Carson City School Board. She thrives in advocating for all students and is honored to serve in this role to continue making an impact in the community.

In her most recent role at WNC, she founded a student success program for Latinos at WNC. Since 2010, The Latino Leadership Academy has served over 600 first-generation Latinos transitioning from high school into college to achieve a college degree in a timely manner. The successful program accomplished to close the achievement gap among the largest minority student population at the institution. Currently, she continues mentoring some of the students from Nevada Promise.

In 2018, she was the recipient of the ACT College and Career Readiness Postsecondary Champion for Nevada. In 2020, Ramirez was honored as the NASB New School Board Member of the Year. In 2021, Soroptimist International of Carson City awarded her with the Women Helping Women Honoree Award.

Ramirez was the first Latina to serve on the Carson City Cultural Commission and is the first Latina to serve as a School Trustee for the Carson City School District. She is also a Board member of the Partnership Carson City. She’s married to her husband for 36 years and has a 21-year-old daughter who is graduating from UNR in Spring 2022 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Minor in Constriction Management.

The Carson City School District Board of Trustees was also recognized as the 2013 NASB School Board of the Year, awarded to the Carson City School District Board of Trustees for the consistent use and development of skills and programs focused on board-superintendent cooperation and teamwork to improve student achievement. They were also board members when the Carson City School Board was recognized as the NASB Governance Team of the Year in 2017 and the School Board of the Year in 2019.