Russell Klein new LCSD superintendent

Russell Klein new LCSD superintendent

Russell Klein new LCSD superintendent

The Lander County School District (LCSD) board of trustees has chosen Battle Mountain High School principal Russell Klein to take the reins as superintendent starting the 2018-2019 school year.

Klein has been involved with education in many different ways, from teaching high school business classes, to the Department of Education’s Office of Accountability, to principal of an elementary and two high schools. With a trajectory like that, superintendent is only natural.

“I’m honored at the confidence shown by our board and am looking forward to the new responsibilities,” he said.

He has served as principal of Independence High School at Nevada Youth Training Center (NYTC), a juvenile correctional facility in Elko, where he said the program helped students succeed.

“I grew up poverty poor, so I’ve always felt a connection to students who come from less than favorable circumstances,” he said. “At NYTC, the students often came from lives that included a substantial amount of dysfunction. Because it is a residential facility, as a school, we were able to have great success because the youth had nine hours of sleep every night, three meals a day, no drugs, and no trauma going on in their lives. When you could just focus on education, you were able to help them succeed in an area (school) that they had never been successful at before.”

Klein said his main focuses as superintendent will be academics and personnel.


Klein describes himself as a “data guy,” an emphasis that stems from his time in the Office of Accountability, which monitors school performance to make sure the school is meeting educational expectations.

In education, the data gleaned from exams can provide insights for teachers on where to focus. If a significant number of students didn’t perform well on a particular section of a test, for instance, teachers know they need to reteach that material using different strategies. Knowing how students performed on the last round of state tests also helps teachers focus on those areas.

“I plan on continuing and expanding the use of data in all schools to validate and inform instruction,” Klein said. “I will try to support efforts to measure students’ growth consistently such that we can know who needs help in a certain area in a timely manner.”

“I have an absolute commitment to academic achievement across the board,” Klein said. As superintendent, he said he can expand this focus to all of the schools in the district, including the Austin school. He met with the community in Austin and the district is working very hard to find a solution to their needs. “With small towns, there are very real dynamics we need to be considerate of,” he said.

Klein said the district focuses on preparing kids from kindergarten through high school for college and career. The district already participates in the Western Nevada Jump Start program, which allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college-level courses so that when they graduate from high school they already have an associate’s degree. This year, 15 11th grade students are participating in the program, which means potentially 20 percent of the class will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

He said he would like to see students in Lander County perform at or above the national average in academics.


Klein said a large portion of the district’s current personnel, many of whom come from the “Baby Boomer” generation, is quickly approaching retirement.

“We have excellent teachers in the district now,” Klein said. “Our challenge in the next 7-10 years will be to replace the retiring teachers ... and bring in our next generation of educators.”

Part of the plan for attracting teachers to a rural school district is seeking out educators that grew up in rural small towns. “When you come from a small town, you want to live in a small town,” he said.

District representatives attend hiring fairs at smaller rural colleges in search of potential teachers. Klein said he has also personally called colleges asking about graduates that might consider positions in Lander County. LCSD also has raised pay and offered signing bonuses to entice certified teachers into the area.

Having the right kind of teachers helps move the school district toward the future.

“I hope to create an educational system where the students move seamlessly from one grade to the next and from one school to the next with consistent care and good instruction,” Klein said.