Nevada has a new superintendent of public instruction — that's basically a CEO position, overseeing education in the state.
Thirty people applied for the job, and of the three finalists, Gov. Steve Sisolak chose Jhone Ebert for the job.
Ebert is a lifelong educator who began her career as a teacher in Las Vegas in 1990. She worked for the Clark County School District for 25 years before moving to New York to take on education policy.
Now she’s back in Nevada with a big job to do.
“We’ve had great progress over the last few years and now we’re taking a look. We have a foundation set and looking toward a path forward," Ebert told KNPR's State of Nevada.
Ebert said Gov. Steve Sisolak has laid out the goal of addressing equality gaps in the state. She believes addressing those gaps is more about closing opportunity gaps for students.
“Making sure that all of our students have access to the resources that they need to achieve,” she said.
Ebert would like to see the program My Brother's Keeper implemented around the state. She would also like to improve transparency and information sharing with educators.
One of the biggest topics in education in Nevada right now is the funding formula. The formula is used to calculate how much each district gets but it hasn't been updated since the '60s.
Ebert said the type of children being served by public schools has changed dramatically since she was in the classroom in the '90s, let alone the changes since the '60s.
“We’ve done study after study over the decades, done little tweaks, "she said, "but I think the Legislature in this session needs to take all of this information and turn it into action."
Nevada is a unique state when it comes to education with two large urban centers, surrounded by much smaller and rural areas. Ebert believes the best way to handle the differing need is by leaving the details to the local decision makers.
“It’s setting the bar, setting the expectations and having the school district leaders, the superintendents, the principals, the communities themselves make the determination on how to meet those expectations," she said.
She said everyone has the expectation that students will be literate, will have the computation skills they need and will be articulate and communicate — but how those expectations are met needs to be done within the context of the students' environments.
Jhone Ebert, superintendent of public instruction, Nevada Department of Education
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