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Nye school trustees expected to place outgoing superintendent on leave as they begin search for new leader

Nye County School District trustees are expected to place outgoing Superintendent Warren Shillingburg on administrative leave as early as next week, and appoint an interim leader as they begin their search for his replacement.

It comes after trustees rescinded their three-year extension of Shillingburg’s contract in May, and declined to negotiate a new deal with him before it expires at the end of this month.

An agenda posted ahead of the trustees’ June 15 board meeting in Pahrump indicates the board will vote on whether to relieve him of his duties two weeks shy of his contract’s June 30 termination date.

Shillingburg was hired in June 2020 following a four-month search to retain a leader for the school district.

How we got here

Retaining a superintendent has been a months-long back-and-forth battle between trustees and the public, who often criticized Shillingburg for failing to produce a comprehensive plan for the district in the past three years.

Nye trustees initially voted 4-3 in December to extend Shillingburg’s contract to lead district schools through 2026, with a pay raise of $30,000 annually.

But a complaint filed with the state attorney general’s office in January, accused trustees of violating open-meeting laws because they failed to negotiate the contract publicly. Instead, they met privately and only emerged from closed session to inform the public they had reached a new deal with Shillingburg.

Shillingburg did not attend that meeting, but emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act between him and then-board president Teresa Stoddard raised red flags about how the superintendent’s contract was negotiated in secret. Those emails show Stoddard agreed to cover for Shillingburg, who told her that he planned to fake being sick so he did not have to face trustees or the public during his contract negotiations last year.

At an April 20 special meeting, the board of trustees, led by new president Bryan Wulfenstein, voted to rescind Shillingburg’s contract. Stoddard did not attend the meeting, according to the board’s official minutes.

Contact Editor Brent Schanding at bschanding@pvtimes.com.

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