Lisa Cano Burkhead
Lisa Cano Burkhead
Editor's Note: Candidate did not provide an answer.
How would you describe yourself to voters?
I am a first generation American Latina who was born and raised in Las Vegas and who has spent her life educating Nevada’s kids. My parents came to Las Vegas in 1965 to give their children a better life and pursue the American Dream. My father worked his way up through Las Vegas casinos, starting as a porter and later becoming a black jack dealer. My mom started at Hudson cleaners before becoming a seamstress at the Las Vegas Hilton where she worked on a variety of shows, including Elvis and Gladys Knight.
Though my parents had only an elementary level of schooling, they implanted in me the value of education as an investment I could make in my life that nobody could take away from me. While in 9th grade at KO Knudson, my principal asked me to help two new students from Ecuador learn English since the school didn’t have the resources to provide English Language classes. This experience helping my peers learn English, and the importance of education instilled in me by my parents, set me on a course to make education and education advocacy my life’s work.
After graduating from the University of Redlands, with a double major in English and Spanish and my teaching credential, I returned to Nevada to teach. I spent a decade teaching English and Spanish in Clark County schools before becoming the Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at Eldorado High School. Always focused on how to bring out the best in her students, I worked with students and parents in-and-out of the classroom to develop leadership skills, enroll in AP and enrichment classes and prepare them for the real world so that they would be ready to get good jobs or start their own businesses.
I spent several years as chief of staff to Northwest Region Superintendent Richard A. Carranza, before returning to Fertitta Middle School as a principal. For the past six years, I served as principal at Foothill High School and instituted critical reforms to help turnaround the school and improve education, such as the One Hill Initiative. As principal, I had to balance tight budgets and use resources wisely. From hiring teachers to investing in extracurricular programs and buying school supplies, I spent every day prioritizing investments that would benefit students.
I was named the 2008 Nevada Association of Student Councils Administrator of the year and, in 2016, was awarded the prestigious Public Education Foundation’s Best in Class Award for School Leadership, which honors high performance, strategic thinking and innovation. Throughout my career in education, I worked to bring people together with different perspectives and build a community that made parents, students and educators proud and productive. I knew that Nevada businesses and Nevada’s future depends on welleducated students and I worked tirelessly to make sure my students were prepared to succeed.
In 2021, after 25 years as an educator, I retired from the Clark County School District but that hasn’t stopped me from serving the community and making education a foundational element in children’s lives. I currently teach educators how to better connect with students and build classrooms that fosters learning and, as Lt. Governor, I will serve as a public advocate for education.
I live in Henderson with my husband, Jeff, where I serve my most important role as mother to my three daughters Taylor, Raquel and Sofia.
What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?
We know education is an investment we make in our children that pays dividends throughout their lives. My focus is to look at how we reform the current structure of school districts to address the vulnerabilities and blind spots in how they support educators and students as they go through K-12 schools. Additionally, a top issue for me is supporting small businesses and providing small businesses a one-stop shop when they need an answer or have a barrier to creating their own economic opportunity. While so many people think of Nevada as the gaming capital of the world, the reality is there are nearly 300,000 small businesses in Nevada with more than half a million employees. Our office launched the Office of Small Business advocacy earlier in the year, where we’ll be guiding small business owners and entrepreneurs through the process of government bureaucracy and helping them find resources to help them accomplish their goals and dreams. Finally, I’m working with Governor Sisolak and our federal partners to support our schools, healthcare workers and parents so they have the resources they need to address our mental healthcare challenges and improve educational and support services at schools. The Superintendent of Public Instruction and I have held round tables with educators and teachers to discuss this issue, and will continue to engage with interested parties to find solutions.
The role of the Lt. Governor is limited. How would you use the office to serve the state?
I think one of the greatest challenges in the Lt. Governor’s office could also be an opportunity. This office holds some important roles, but its power is limited and its influence has historically been limited. I look at this office as a platform to advocate for Nevada families. Whether it is our students and teachers who have an education system that isn’t meeting its end of the bargain or union workers who feel like they don’t get the contracts and support that they deserve from our state, I look at this office and this role as being the public advocate for our community. I want to uplift labor organizations, community groups and Nevada so that important voices that are often drowned out are finally heard. That’s my vision for what I would do with a full-term, be an advocate and partner.
A chief responsibility of the Lt. Governor is chairing the state tourism board. What steps will you take to diversify Nevada’s economy and spur job growth?
Moving forward, I hope to use my roles over outdoor recreation and tourism to highlight our beautiful public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities, while also messaging to the public the importance of being careful stewards of our public lands so that generations to come can also enjoy them. I also hope to mesh my roles with transportation and economic development in this space. For example, I would like to look at how we are providing transportation to outdoor recreation opportunities, so that those activities can be enjoyed by all Nevadans. I also want to create symbiosis and partnerships between GOED and outdoor recreation. Businesses and their employees want to relocate to a state that has outdoor recreation opportunities, so we should be looking at the economic benefits of conservation
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
As an administrator and school principal, I worked every day to build community. I bring this leadership style with me to the Office of Lieutenant Governor. I never sought the office, but when Gov. Sisolak offered to appoint me, I knew I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to serve. My life’s work has been education and working with students, educators and parents to build community and empower them as a leader.