School board leader won’t seek 3rd term
Charlie Compton, chairman of the Nevada Joint Union High School District board, said Thursday he does not plan to seek a third term on the panel.
As his decision came to light, at least two potential candidates were expressing an interest this week in vying for Compton’s spot, up for election in November.
Mark Heauser and Vicki Downs are both considering running for Compton’s seat, which encompasses the area around Chicago Park and Peardale.
The filing period for the two school board seats begins July 12.
Compton said Thursday he does not plan to run for a third four-year term. He joins Penn Valley-area resident Diane Correll in deciding not to seek a new term to the high school district board.
Downs, 43, who has spent years as a parent volunteer at Union Hill School, said Thursday she’ll definitely run for Compton’s seat.
“I just want to be involved,” said Downs, whose daughter, Anna, will be a freshman at Nevada Union High School in August. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the school system again.”
Downs, who graduated from Nevada Union in 1978, said she’s concerned about the high administrative turnover at Nevada Union and wants the staff to return to more harmonious times. When Downs was a student there, she said, all the teachers ate in the same room, which rarely occurs now.
Heauser, 43, said he would decide within the next few days whether to run for Compton’s seat. Co-owner of Plaza Tire with his brother Mike, Mark Heauser has lived in Grass Valley since 1978. He has three children, including one who will be a sophomore next year at Nevada Union.
Heauser said his idea to run was “pretty self-induced. My feeling is to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.
Heauser attended a meeting of The Concerned Group for the Welfare of the Nevada Joint Union High School District on Thursday, though he’s not affiliated with them. The group’s principal concerns are to recruit members to run for election in November and to address concerns of high turnover and low morale at the district, specifically at Nevada Union High School.
Compton, who has served as a member of the high school district board for the past eight years, didn’t elaborate publicly his reasons for not seeking a third term.
“I’d be happy to give you the answer when I’m not on the board,” he said.
Compton, a partner in a Grass Valley law firm, first earned a seat on the high school board in 1996 after serving for eight years as a member of the Chicago Park School District’s board of trustees. His four children graduated from Nevada Union High School, including his youngest, who graduated two weeks ago.
Compton grew up in the Bay Area. He has been a partner at the Shine, Compton and Nelder law firm since 1988.
Compton and Correll’s tenure on the high school board was marked most recently by myriad transitions in Nevada Union High School’s management structure.
In the past three years, the high school has had six different principals who have sometimes clashed with longtime high school administrators. While the district experienced growth during Correll’s and Compton’s early tenure on the board, declining enrollment has had an adverse effect on district finances, leading to layoffs in the past two school years.
The community group’s actions played no role in his decision to step down in November, Compton said.
Compton said he has not asked anyone to run for his seat, either.
“I’ve made no attempt to seek anyone out. That’s up to the people to decide, not me.”
Correll, also in her second term, said she decided about two years ago that her current term would be her last.
Correll said she no longer feels called to the position and has made attempts, with little success, to recruit someone to take her spot on the board.
“I would really encourage people with a good heart and strong thinking skills to serve in this position,” she said. “You don’t do it for the money.”
Trustees earn a $240 monthly stipend for attending one regularly scheduled board meeting and other special meetings as needed.
Correll, 44, a recruiter for a Nevada City-based health-care services company, has five children, two of whom will be attending Nevada Union next year. Her oldest graduated two weeks ago. She also has a seventh- and fifth-grader.
Correll said she didn’t think that this past year was harder than past years and that she is leaving the district in good shape.
“I am grateful to have (Superintendent) Maggie Deetz leading our district,” she said. “Maggie has a gift for listening to people and coming up with practical solutions. She’s got a great depth of knowledge of the district.”
Deetz has been with the high school district for more than 15 years, including stints as assistant principal at Bear River High School, principal at Bear River and a district administrator.
“I’m leaving (the district) in the best hands I know, with Maggie in charge,” Correll said.
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