Superintendent Jesus Jara to resign as head of Clark County schools

Superintendent Jesus Jara speaks during a news conference at Dean Petersen Elementary School, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Lorraine Longhi

February 1, 2024

The superintendent has faced criticism from district teachers and their union, as well as calls from state lawmakers to step down.

Embattled Superintendent Jesus Jara is set to step down as the head of the Clark County School District, capping off a controversial tenure that saw several calls for his removal.

Jara, who came on to lead the district in 2018 and oversaw its operations during the pandemic, will ask the district’s Board of Trustees to pay out the remainder of his 3 ½-year contract, which it narrowly voted to extend in late 2022.

The board will consider ending Jara’s contract at a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Under his current contract, Jara makes $395,000 annually, excluding benefits.

The district said the decision was being considered due to “the mutual benefit of both parties,” citing its five-year plan–which is set to expire this year–as a “natural transition point.”

Jara was fired–and subsequently rehired–by the board in 2021 along a one-vote margin. Since then, he has faced criticism from district teachers and their union, as well as calls from state lawmakers to step down.

More recently, the Clark County Education Association teachers union filed a lawsuit over a tweet that was sent from the superintendent’s Twitter account–which has since been deactivated–which referred to the union’s president, Marie Neisess, as a “mistress.”

At a press conference Thursday, CCEA Executive Director called attention to the tweet and other controversies surrounding Jara.

“I think it’s at a point where…there’s no return, that it’s just going to get worse for the superintendent,” Vellardita said. “…he’s looking for the exit.”

The district said in its statement Wednesday that additional comments would not be provided, and that the board would discuss ending Jara’s contract at its meeting next week.

The board will also consider a motion to name Deputy Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell as superintendent.

“We currently have a unique opportunity to lead the district on a path forward without disrupting the district’s stability and remaining laser-focused on student outcomes in our district,” the district wrote.

Reach the reporter at [email protected].

  • Lorraine Longhi

    Lorraine Longhi is a reporter for The Nevadan and native of the southwest. A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, she spent eight years reporting in Arizona, including at The Arizona Republic and The Copper Courier, where she covered education, health care and state politics. She returned to Las Vegas, her hometown, last year as an education reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where she was later promoted to assistant city editor

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