To give voters more information on the perspectives of State Board of Education, Clark County School District, and Washoe County School District Board candidates, Opportunity 180 introduced the Question of the Week to accompany its Primary Election Voter Guide. Each week, candidates will have the option to respond to a question emailed to all candidates for whom we have contact information. Participation is voluntary, and responses are published as is. Below are the responses from candidates to this week’s question.

This week’s question is: As early voting continues for the Primary Election, what is something you have learned from your experience during this campaign cycle?


State Board of Education – District 2

Dr. Paul Davis

A: I am glad that you asked this question. Last night, I gave a presentation at a pack meeting of a Democratic Central Committee meeting. The response was so energetic. During my time in my limited campaigning, many voters have been very eager to share their thoughts and concerns about our public school system. I have received many messages from people wanting to know my thoughts and ideas about controversial issues, to which I am more than happy to respond. The bottom line is that there seem to be many voters who are not apathetic and desire to engage in political dialogue with candidates.


State Board of Education – District 3

Rene Cantu

A: Nevadans really care about our schools. Voters of all ages seem to be very concerned about the state of our education system in Nevada. Many wish to see the Clark County School District broken up because they are frustrated that it is dysfunctional beyond repair. I believe that the school district does need solutions beginning with full compliance with the reorganization law (AB 469).

Many voters have contacted me with concerns about special interest groups that wish to ban books, introduce religion into the public education system and attack/single out LGBT kids. They feel that we need to protect our students and schools from any extremist ideologies. They are concerned about school choice. More than anything, most voters who have contacted me are reasonable people who wish for our school system not to be a battleground for the culture wars, but a place where kids are safe and can learn to think.

Voters seem very interested in electing people who are sane and reasonable, and who will put students and families at the forefront of their decisions.


Clark County School District – District A

Rachel Puaina

A: I found that it is very important to check my priorities. My family and faith keep me grounded when I start to feel that I am losing myself and my purpose. Knowing my priorities and knowing my foundation supports me, it helps me stay focused.


Clark County School District – District B

Russ Burns

A: So far, I have learned a lot about the process of filing and maintaining records for candidates. It involves a significant amount of work related to visibility, community engagement, and the time commitment necessary to handle everything involved. Balancing this with a full-time job and family responsibilities has meant many late nights and utilizing social media to disseminate information and answer questions (such as this one).
I’ve found it challenging to manage most of this on my own. Although I recognize the value and importance of fundraising, I have chosen not to engage in it. My motivation for running is a genuine desire to serve the community and its people, both as a candidate and potentially as a school board trustee. I do not want to be beholden to any individual or group through their financial contributions. While I appreciate and align with my endorsements, I prefer to avoid accepting payments or gifts to maintain my ethical standards and commitment to public service.
Politics is complex. In my experience, about half of the candidates are driven by a genuine desire to improve their communities, while the other half seem motivated by the pursuit of an agenda, power or personal gain. Campaign fundraising can muddy the waters, especially for those who can afford to hire third-party groups or staff to assist in their efforts, or even pay for the large signs that litter the side of road ways. I have been fortunate to receive volunteer support from friends and family, who help with proofreading, editing, digital artwork, and emotional support. Some teens from the teen center I work at have also contributed by taking headshots, designing a logo, and creating digital posters, which does assist me, but I enjoy the value of learning about new skills and contributing to the community. I am deeply grateful for all of their assistance.
I am not a politician; I simply want to do my part to improve our education system for my children and all the children of Clark County. I believe we can do better and grow CCSD to something more than it currently is.


Clark County School District – District E

Kamilah Bywaters

A: I’ve learned that running a campaign is hard work. Mobilizing voters around the issues that matter requires time, patience, and commitment. A core value of mine is being available to share my thoughts and ideologies on important education topics, ensuring voters understand where I stand on these critical issues. Therefore, I have attended all invited forums and completed questionnaires, allowing voters to get to know me and my commitment to building unity and collaboration. With a well-established resume and the experience needed, I am prepared to lead as a school board Trustee.


Leonard Lither

A: Historically, our school board is run by office seekers first, educators second. I guess I didn’t realize 2 things, how far we’d be willing to go to stretch what an “educator” is, and how ignored a real teacher would be.



Carlo Meguerian

A: Too many people running for public office care more about themselves and their status, rather than doing whats right and best for the community. It’s a shame and we need to do better. Not enough people want real change.



Matthew Tramp

A: For the last four months, I’ve visited with many members of my community, and I received a great amount of input including former educators and current Clark county school district staff members. While, everybody has a different opinion on what is wrong with the school district and how to solve some of the problems , I did find many topics where public angrees overwhelmingly.
It was agreed-upon that we need more transparency, and accountability. We need to let teachers teach and do the job that they were trying to do. We need to stop burdening our educators having fill out with unnecessary reports and paperwork that are not mandated by our state or federal education departments.


Washoe County School District – District G

Nathaniel Phillipps

A: The *way* we campaign matters. They reflect our values and how we will promote our constituents’ best interest when in office.

My grandmother who raised me recently passed before I could tell her about my candidacy. I learned from her that, “If everyone likes you, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

Several of my fellow candidates have raised significant sums primarily with their own personal funds. I’m of the philosophy that if a community wants you to represent them enough, they’ll do what it takes to get you into office.

As a first time candidate I’ve also experienced the barriers and challenges that makes it more difficult for candidates of color, young, and low-income folks to run. As they say, “We have to work twice as hard.”

Whether I’m elected or not I will use this experience to advocate for other up-and-coming leaders to do the same and change local politics!