New directors join Nevada Joint Union High School District |

New directors join Nevada Joint Union High School District

New administrators have been brought into the fold at the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Last week, Janet Horowitz became the new director of pupil services and Aurora Thompson was hired as the director of career technical education and state/federal programs.

The two will be part of Superintendent Brett McFadden’s “cabinet level” positions, meant to foster collaboration with three other education leaders. The group discusses a variety of education topics at their Tuesday meetings.

Horowitz is replacing Sean Manchester who died earlier this year in a kayaking incident.

“Sean worked so hard to increase services, to assemble a team that is really effective and really put students first,” said Horowitz, adding that she plans on building on Manchester’s vision for special education in the district.

The new director of pupil services worked in the Grass Valley School District for 20 years, most recently as the special education director. She’s been impressed with the faculty and administration at Nevada Union.

“This school just has some amazing people to work with,” said Horowitz.


McFadden created a new position — filled by Thompson — for the district, partially to emphasize the importance of career technical education.

“This is part of the school district’s longterm strategic plan,” said McFadden, adding that over 40% of all district students take a career technical education course.

A program meant to influence students to be more well-rounded, the superintendent noted how Thompson demonstrates this quality. In a career technical education class as a freshmen, she said she developed plans to build her future home — which she did at age 23.

“I think many people feel career technical education are courses for kids that can’t be college bound,” she said, noting that is often not the case.

Thompson said she wants the technical courses to be practical and to lead to work experience for students, reflecting her life process of doing construction jobs while receiving her teaching credentials.

Beginning in Montana as a teacher, Thompson said she moved to California to teach in Plumas County, eventually becoming its program coordinator. Later, she became director of student support services for Placer County.

Most recently, Thompson was the director of student support services for the Penn Valley Union Elementary School District, where she’s been helping the district transition as she moves into her new position. The district’s new director said she had no intention of leaving Penn Valley, but her new job was too enticing to pass up.

“These (career technical education) positions are a rare find. It’s an absolute dream job for me,” she said. She hopes to eventually retire from the position.

Thompson plans to recognize industry partners in the area, and has already made arrangements to meet with local companies in an attempt to prepare students for jobs in the county.

She said she’s inspired by the amount of career technical education teachers that are female in the district, and wants to engage with them on school campuses as much as possible.

“I travel with a backpack everywhere so I can be in classrooms,” she said.

Both Thompson and Horowitz have kids in the district, said McFadden, which he hopes will foster a strong bond between the administrators, faculty, parents and students.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at

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