Who is running for CCSD School Board?

The Clark County School District Board of Trustees Wednesday, February 7, 2024. (Lorraine Longhi/The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

By Jannelle Calderón

June 9, 2024

Twenty-five candidates are running for four CCSD school board seats in the election this year. Voters will narrow down the races in the primary election on Tuesday.

This year, four of the seven elected Clark County School Board of Trustees seats are up for grabs — only one incumbent is seeking reelection.

The nonpartisan seats are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis. The board oversees the district’s 300,000 students and roughly 40,000 employees, hires and manages the district’s superintendent, and approves the district’s budget.

Earlier this year, the board gained four seats appointed by and to represent municipalities — Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. That change was the result of AB 175, which passed during last year’s legislative session with the aim of bringing more voices and expertise to the school board.

Several candidates are running for each of the four seats up in this year’s election and voters will narrow the field in Nevada’s June 11 Primary Election. The two candidates with the most votes in each race will then face each other in the General Election on Nov. 5 — unless a candidate receives over 50% of votes cast in the primary. If that happens, that candidate will be automatically elected to office and does not have to compete in the general election ballot.

Voters can only vote among the candidates representing the district they live in. Check out the district boundaries map to find your trustee district.

Jump to:

District A – Henderson, Boulder City, Searchlight, and Laughlin

Trustee Lisa Guzmán, a former teacher, currently represents District A, but she is not seeking reelection. Guzman has been on the board since January 2021. The primary is between five candidates looking to replace her.

Anna Binder – binder4nevada.com

  • Binder is a former paralegal and mother to six kids — two of whom have received individualized education programs as part of their special education.
  • According to her website, she became an advocate for her children and other students, during the COVID-19 pandemic school shutdowns, when her children were left without the support and resources they received every day at school.
  • Binder is part of the Special Education Advisory Committee for the Nevada Department of Education and was appointed to the Nevada Governor’s Council for Developmental Disabilities, and the Commission for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Karl Catarata – votecatarata.com

  • Ran for Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents in 2022, but did not make it past the primary.
  • Catarata studied political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and has served as co-chair of the Las Vegas Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee.
  • Earned a certificate on education finance strategy from Georgetown University.
  • According to his LinkedIn, Catarata has previously worked for Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, and several nonprofits.

Mercedes McKinley – mercedesmckinley.org

  • An educator, mom, CCSD alumni and a community organizer.
  • According to her website, McKinley did not speak English when first moving to Las Vegas in 1987 and entering CCSD. She graduated from Eldorado High School in 1997.
  • According to her LinkedIn, McKinley earned her Bachelor’s in and Master’s degrees in geography and environmental science from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
  • In 2017, she returned to Nevada and taught environmental science at the College of Southern Nevada and became an elementary school teacher at CCSD until 2021.

Rachel A. Puaina – rachelapuaina.com

  • Puaina has been an English teacher in Clark County for the last five years — first at a CCSD middle school for two years, and now at a charter school. (CCSD employees are barred from serving on the Clark County School Board, but employment by a charter school means she is eligible to run for School Board.)
  • Her LinkedIn shows she attended California State University-Los Angeles, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in English and Language Arts Teacher Education
  • According to her website, her top concerns are school safety, teacher retention, and having high academic standards.

Emily Stevens – electemilystevens.com

  • Stevens works in business development for SCE Credit Union and is mom to two teenagers.
  • She serves on academic boards at Clark and Mission high schools, as well as the advisory committee for Communities in Schools, a nonprofit focused on dropout prevention.
  • In her website, Stevens says that her priorities are school safety, addressing the teacher shortage and student attendance, increased focus on math, English, and science, more workforce education and training, and improving community collaboration.

District B – Northwest Las Vegas Valley, Mt. Charleston, Indian Springs, Mesquite, and Moapa Valley

Trustee Katie Williams, who was elected to the School Board in 2020, is not running for reelection. Six candidates are looking to fill her seat.

Lydia Dominguez – dominguezfortrustee.com

  • She is the mother of two children enrolled in CCSD. She served a decade in the Air Force​.
  • According to her website, Dominguez earned a Bachelor’s degree in business management from American Military University.
  • Dominguez was appointed to CCSD’s Attendance Zone Advisory Committee — the committee is tasked with reviewing school attendance boundaries and recommending changes to the Board of School Trustees for new schools or to relieve overcrowded conditions at an existing school.

Eileen Eady – eadyfornevada.com

  • Eady is a former teacher who now does campaign consulting.
  • She is endorsed by several advocacy groups and unions, including the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Make the Road Action Nevada, the AFL-CIO, and Moms Demand Action.
  • In 2018, Eady ran for CCSD Trustee District F, but did not receive enough votes in the primary to move forward to the general election.

Robert J. Plummer – plummerforccsd.com

  • Plummer graduated from Valley High School and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in organizational leadership from the University of Oklahoma.
  • He served 28 years in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and then became police chief in Napa, California.
  • His children also graduated from CCSD schools.
  • According to his website, Plummer’s priorities include addressing school violence, engaging parents, accountability, transparency, and “teach[ing] the fundamentals.”

Deven Singh – electdevensingh.com

  • Singh owns a residential and commercial real estate property management company and teaches real estate as an adjunct professor at the College of Southern Nevada.
  • He graduated from Valley High School and earned his Bachelor’s in business management from UNLV.
  • According to his website, Singh was also at one point a substitute teacher and real estate agent.

Doug Self – no campaign website

  • According to his LinkedIn profile, Self is a high school math teacher, has a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy, and two Master’s degrees — business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and education from University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Samuel “Russ” Burns – no campaign website

  • Burns does not have an online presence, but a candidate financial disclosure statement shows he works in the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

District C – North Las Vegas and central Las Vegas Valley

District C’s Trustee Evelyn Garcia Morales, who is also Board President, is the only incumbent trustee running for reelection this year.

  • She was first elected in 2020, when she ran against Tameka Henry and won by about 4,500 votes, or 6% of the vote.
  • According to her campaign website, Garcia Morales is a first-generation American and graduated from Mojave High School. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a Master’s degree in organizational development and knowledge management from George Mason University in Virginia.
  • She has previously led outreach programs at YMCA of Southern Nevada that provided after school tutoring and drug prevention classes.

Tameka Henry – votetamekahenry.com

  • Henry received the most votes during the 2020 primary election but lost to Garcia Morales in the general election.
  • According to her website, Henry is the mother of four and a long-time community and education advocate. Her priorities include improving teacher retention, increasing access to high quality education, and enhancing family and community engagement.
  • She is endorsed by nonprofit organizations and community advocacy groups including both teachers unions (the Nevada State Education Association and the Clark County Education Association), Make the Road Action Nevada, the Culinary Union, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Nevada Local 1107.

Christopher P. Teacher – chrisfordistrictc.com

  • According to his Ballotpedia profile, Teacher is an Air Force veteran, where he worked in logistics and civil engineering. In a Ballotpedia survey, Teacher stated that he would like for his legacy to be achieving a 100% graduation rate in CCSD.
  • On his website, Teacher states his priorities include student and parental engagement, “vocational overhaul,” and “revamping the curriculum.”

Frank Friends – votefrankfriends.com

  • According to his Ballotpedia profile, Friends works as a “technician and armed security professional,” is a small business owner, and parent of a child enrolled in CCSD.
  • When asked on the Ballotpedia survey whether there was a piece of media that describes his political philosophy, Friends noted the works of conservative figures Thomas Sowell, Jordan Peterson, and Larry Elder.

Dante T. Thompson – does not have a campaign website or information available about his campaign.

District E – Summerlin and west Las Vegas Valley

District E is currently represented by Lola Brooks, who was first elected in 2016 after defeating incumbent Patrice Tew by about 4,000 votes, or 4% of the vote. Brooks was reelected in 2020, but is not seeking reelection this time around. District E has the most candidates in the primary with nine hopefuls.

Lorena Biassotti – lorena4ccsd.com

  • Biassotti is a real estate agent turned full time mom to four and vice chair of the Clark County chapter of Moms for Liberty, a far-right political organization that advocates against school curricula that mention LGBTQ rights or race and ethnicity. The organization has risen to prominence in recent years by pushing for book bans in school libraries and classrooms, and many members have harassed students, teachers, parents, and school officials.
  • On her website, Biassotti states she is running for trustee to “ensure that our community has a strong voice that represents its values.” And that her goals include more parent involvement and “keeping unnecessary politics out of the schools.”

Kamilah Bywaters – kamilah4nevadans.com

  • Bywaters was a special education teacher in CCSD for 3 years. She currently serves as president of the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators, and is a member of the Black Leadership Advisory Council, a subcommittee of the Nevada Office of Minority Health and Equity.
  • She is currently pursuing a PhD in the field of special education.
  • Bywaters is endorsed by several nonprofit organizations and community advocacy groups, including the Nevada State Education Association, Make the Road Action Nevada, the Culinary Union, and Planned Parenthood.

Ryan Kissling – kisslingforccsd.com

  • Kissling is a father and licensed chiropractor with eight clinics.
  • According to his website, he “wants to empower parents to make the best decisions for their family.” His priorities also include addressing the teacher shortage, transparency, and parental involvement within the school system.

Leonard Lither – lither4trustee.com

  • Lither has been a teacher for nearly 20 years, seven of which were in CCSD, where he primarily taught elementary school. His two children are also CCSD students.
  • According to his website, he holds a Master’s degree in early childhood education.
  • His goals include ensuring “decisions are made in the best interest of our students and their future, not to benefit outside interests that profit from struggling public education.”

Joshua Logie – Campaign website

  • Logie is a 20-year Air Force veteran, where he served as an aircraft maintenance officer, bomber pilot, and unmanned aircraft pilot. He is currently an instructor pilot.
  • According to his LinkedIn, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University. He also holds a Master’s degree in business management from Webster University, and a military operational art and science Master’s degree from USAF Air Command and Staff College.
  • He has three children attending CCSD schools and his wife teaches third grade.

Jeremy Setters – jeremysetters.com

  • Setters is a licensed clinical social worker in the private practice. He has three children who attend CCSD schools.
  • According to his website, his experience as a social worker for at-risk youth and his son’s experience as a nonspeaking autistic child in school led him to become an advocate for those with different learning needs and fuel his mission to make change within the district.
  • Setters is a Las Vegas native and graduated from Sierra Vista High School.

Matthew Tramp – matthewtramp.com

  • Tramp works at an off-strip casino property in the food and beverage industry. He has worked in the industry for over 25 years, although he attended Fort Hays State University and majored in physical education.
  • In 2017, Tramp was appointed to CCSD’s Attendance Zone Advisory Committee, which is tasked to review school attendance boundaries and help relieve overcrowding at schools.
  • Tramp has also served on HOA boards and is a former youth softball umpire and basketball referee.

Carlo Meguerian and Paula Salsman are also running for District E, but do not have campaign websites or information available about their campaign.

  • Jannelle Calderón

    Jannelle Calderón is a bilingual politics and community multimedia reporter with a passion to highlight the human side to policy and issues as well as showcasing the vibrant cultures found in Southern Nevada. She previously reported for The Nevada Independent and graduated from UNLV.

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