School Board Election

Empty Classroom

District D - Beth Smith

Beth-Smith-headshot-scaled_edited.jpg

Beth Smith

Incumbent District D

Appointed to fill vacancy in 2021

Candidate Website

Email:  Elizabeth.Smith@washoeschools.net

Take a moment to check out our report card on the current Board's performance...

Trustee Smith has indicated she will not engage with BBME. 

Background:

Beth Smith was appointed on July 26, 2021 by the Board of Trustees to the vacancy in District D due to the resignation of Trustee Kurt Thigpen. She is a mother of 2 boys currently in the school district. Ms. Smith has worked for IGT since April, 2021 as a Marketing Manager and the Diversity and Inclusion Global Program Manager.  She was appointed to the WCSD Zoning Advisory Committee and served as Vice Chair her first year and then Chair for the next three years.  During the end of her final year on the committee, Beth was appointed as the vacant District D Trustee position. 

 

Politics:

In January of 2022, Ms. Smith announced her candidacy for District D at the monthly meeting of the Washoe Dems. She informed the committee that she was not new to being a Democrat and has worked for years getting Democrats elected up and down the ballot. Her 13+ years included working to get President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Senator Jackie Rosen, Commissioner Alexis Hill, Trustee Thigpen, Trustee Raymond and many more elected. In the meeting she says: “This is a nonpartisan race but…There are elements of why I am proud to be a democrat that you will see very very prominent in my service as a Trustee.” And “I am proud to hold the line against misinformation, against all of that messaging.” In closing Ms. Smith said, “I am working with…Changing Dynamics.”  Here is the Washoe Democrats Monthly Meeting.

 

Changing Dynamics is a political PR and consulting firm that is “dedicated to helping  progressive candidates win down ticket.”  The team describes themselves as “paid campaign operatives.” Check out their website here: www.changingdynamic.net 

Platform:

  • School Reconstruction: I want to continue to see construction funding put towards schools in established neighborhoods to provide kids in older schools with the same modern learning environments as the ones we are building in our growth areas. This may look like rebuilding a school entirely (like O’Brien Middle School), expanding and renovating an existing school (like Swope Middle School). I’m a strong advocate for a complete rebuild of Vaughn and Pine middle schools, now that we have that design from O’Brien.

  • Continued support and expansion of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and our Signature Academies. I am incredibly excited about the new CTE high school campus that will be finished for the school year after next. I would like to see CTE expanded in an age-appropriate way into middle school.

  • Lowering Class Sizes and Case Loads: I believe we must look for every way possible to lower class sizes. I will work with our new superintendent to evaluate the balance between other specialized classroom positions and teaching positions. There are certainly valuable (and required) positions that we must have, though there must be balance, and my priority is classroom teachers.

 

Voting & Decision Record:

  • Smaller Class Sizes:  Despite smaller classes being one of Trustee Smith’s main issues, like all the other incumbent Trustees up for election, she did not find a way to obtain smaller class sizes, but instead voted to approve a variance which circumvents state mandated lower student to teacher ratios thereby decreasing class size.   

  • Teacher Safety:  Regarding representation, Trustee Smith writes about teachers discussing concerns with the Board’s review of  Board Policy 5100 Student Behavior, which reads as follows: “The Board of Trustees (Board) believes that every student has the right to learn in a respectful, safe, and inclusive learning environment and that every student has the right to learn in an environment that is free from distractions and disruptions that impede learning.”  The teachers concern is easy to understand as, BP 5100 Student Behavior used to read as follows:

    •      “The Board of Trustees (“Board”) believes that every student has the right to learn in a respectful, safe, and inclusive learning environment and that every teacher has the right to teach in an environment that is free from distractions and disruptions that impede learning.” 

      • All Board members, including Trustee Smith voted to , strike the word “teacher” from this Board Policy (BP).  Their reason for omitting the word teacher is because the BP is entitled and focused on “Student” Behavior. You can hear this discussion at the beginning of their meeting.  12-14-2021 WCSD Meeting

      • The Trustees discussed how they heard from a lot of teachers regarding the change. Trustee Smith told those that reached out to her it would be present in other material and policies. We feel giving the teachers a safe environment in which to teach is paramount, so we emailed Trustee Smith and asked her to provide us with the board policies she referred to in the December 14, 2021 Board meeting. She did. However, our reading of the BPs she sent revealed no assurances similar to what BP 5100 had once contained. (She cited: Board Policy 9200, Board Policy 9210 and Board Policy 9215).

  • Equity & Racially Charged Curriculums: One issue that we believe the community is interested in is her stand on Addressing American History: Past and Present. She states that “increased awareness of others' lived experience is critical'' awareness through “Social Emotional Learning (SEL), multicultural education and America's history.” “A child should never feel bad or be made to feel bad for being born into a race or ethnicity, but there is a misunderstanding about the discomfort that may happen once people learn more about the lived experience of others, past or present. This discomfort is not negative.” “Our children must learn about why the Civil Rights Movement was necessary.”  We are concerned from what we have researched that the direction of teaching will be divisive, by focusing more on race than the totality of the circumstances.

  • Parents as Threats:  Agenda Item 2.09 National School Board Association (NSBA) Renewal October 26, 2021 -  The NSBA coordinated with the White House and Department of Justice before sending a letter to President Biden on September 29, 2021 asking for “Federal Law Enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.” The NSBA requested a joint expedited review by the DOJ, Education and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI…National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority.   Trustee Smith was the only Trustee who voted for renewing WCSD’s contract with the NSBA. See Vote. 

    • Trustee Smith said, in essence that even though these acts of violence were not here in Washoe County she knows this is happening around the country. An example of unacceptable threats is that “people are standing in front of school board members' houses…’ Her opinion was that she did not agree with the language of the letter saying “using the term domestic terrorist went too far.” And the NBSA WAS “misguided.” What Ms. Smith failed to understand was the public's outrage to the fact that the NBSA was asking for the full force and weight of the multiple federal government agencies to intervene on LOCAL school board matters that should be addressed locally.   Yes, the public was aghast at the incendiary term “domestic terrorist” but that was only the half of the matter.