“They taught me how to be more tolerant,” Hollinger said. “They taught me it’s important to have a sense of humor — it’s hard to teach without it. They taught me they have good minds and they’ll use them if we let them. They taught me to listen instead of talk so much.”
Hollinger retires in January after 12 years as a WCSD board member, having served a maximum of six terms. She has served in District B, which covers Sparks and southern Sun Valley schools.
Her service is considered a capstone to a 33-year career that began in 1965 when she started educating first graders and eventually teaching all grades up through sixth. Hollinger said at the time of her retirement as a teacher, she was asked to join the board and in 1999, she was the only educator to serve as a trustee.
“It’s been a good education for me to be on the other side of the table and see how things work,” Hollinger said. “What did I learn as a trustee? I learned how difficult it truly is to manage a budget that will make things easier for the classroom. It wasn’t just out there to take; you had to go out there and get it.”
With the current board, Hollinger has helped the district successfully navigate a superintendent search in 2009, encouraging transparency in the various administrative and school processes. This year, she also assisted in weathering difficult budget cuts in the last biennium by voting to approve a district-wide hiring freeze. She also demonstrated strong and determined leadership by endorsing the implementation of the district’s strategic plan and was proud to be able to see Washoe County’s high school graduation rate increase by seven points after several years of stagnant rates.
Hollinger’s colleagues expressed fond thoughts of working with her.
“Nancy has selflessly provided 12 years of service to our community, tirelessly working on behalf of all students, parents, teachers and staff,” Trustee Barbara Clark said. “As trustee, her oversight help ensure sound fiscal management, which equipped the district to absorb significant cuts during the last four years. In recent years, seeing the need for educational reform, she was part of the trustee team that hired Superintendent (Heath) Morrison. Her presence on the board will be missed by many.”
In January, Hollinger’s seat will be filled by John Mayer, a former Sparks councilman. Mayer will be sworn in on Jan. 11 at a regular board meeting.