By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

McMinnville hires new school superintendent

Debbie Brockett
Debbie Brockett

Debbie Brockett, now a 'region superintendent' at the fifth-largest school district in the U.S., will become a next leader of the McMinnville School District.

School board members unanimously approved hiring the Nevada woman at a brief special meeting Monday night.

"I think you are the person who can take us to the next step," board member Barbara Carter said.

Brockett said she is excited to join the McMinnville district, telling board members, "I can't wait to lead alongside you."

Her first step will be to "listen and learn, and get to know each and every staff member, the community, parents and students."

She said she wants to "continue the legacy" and high standards set by Superintendent Maryalice Russell, who is retiring in June after 19 years with the district.

Brockett plans to move from the Las Vegas area to take the position starting July 1.

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Board members chose Brockett from a field of about two dozen applicants, which they narrowed first to five semi-finalists, then to three finalists. Each finalist visited McMinnville during the second week of March to tour the city and its schools, meet with a panel of educators and citizens, and go through an in-depth interview with the board.

Board Chairman Larry Vollmer said all three finalists were excellent. He and his fellow board members chose Brockett because "we also were looking for the right fit."

Board member Gerardo Partida said the new superintendent has "the knowledge, charisma and confidence" to lead the district.

Brockett served as a building principal in the Clark County School District, which encompasses Las Vegas and the surrounding area, before moving into the district office in 2019.

She is one of three region superintendents who work under one overall superintendent in Clark County. Together, they oversee about 325,000 students, more than 15,000 teachers and nearly 2,900 support staff members and 1,300 administrators.

She also was a finalist for the superintendent job in Oregon's North Clackamas School District earlier this year.

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Brockett is a Nevada native who worked as a dental assistant and office manager before she became an educator. 

When she was in college at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, she and her husband, Craig, were live-in parents to nine boys in a group home. She said the experience taught her that her "calling was working with children," and she changed her major to education and special education.

She started teaching special ed in Clark County middle schools in 1995, then moved to Las Vegas High School in 1998. She became dean of students, then an assistant principal there. She served as a middle school principal, then returned to LVHS as principal before becoming a district-level administrator.

According to the Clark County district, Brockett is known for increasing student achievement at the schools where she has worked. She also has been involved in "transforming evaluation system for both principals and teachers" and "shaping a positive culture for all students and staff, and developing conditions for high-quality teaching.”

Brockett has three children and two grandchildren. She said she enjoys attending school activities, as well as doing CrossFit, reading, traveling and watching sports.

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