RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Washoe County schools have a new superintendent, pending contract negotiations. Pedro Martinez - who was once the deputy under Heath Morrison - accepted the offer today. But some are questioning if a businessman is fit to lead in the classroom.
Martinez has an impressive resume. He has an M.B.A., was the Chief Financial Officer for Chicago public schools under Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and has worked with Nevada schools since 2009.
But one credential is missing: teacher.
So News Four's Ashley Cullins talked to members of the school board to find out why Martinez is their top choice.
Ashley: The Nevada Administrative Code says that a superintendent needs three years of teaching experience, which Mr. Martinez doesn't have, so how is he eligible for endorsement?
Ken Grein, WCSD Board President: Well this question came up earlier in the process and referred it to our legal counsel and said tell us where we're at and he looked at all those codes and everything was right above board.
A memo from the district's legal counsel Randy Drake shows there's another statute allowing the board to hire someone who isn't licensed as an administrator - as long as there is someone licensed on staff to oversee academic programs.
Public Information Officer Vickie Campbell says there are three people who fit that need in the district: Scott Bailey, Chief Academic Officer; Jane Woodburn, Deputy Superintendent of Schools; and Kristen McNeill, the Interim Superintendent Chief Strategies Officer.
So it's legal...But how do the teachers feel?
Ashley: Has there been any concern from teachers about working with a superintendent who hasn't necessarily had that time in their shoes?
Grein: You know these things came up all along the way but it really wasn't an issue. It seemed to be a non-issue by the time we got through meeting all the candidates.
Board Trustee Estela Gutierrez agrees.
"This is a debate across the country whether you need to have education or being a teacher and you can go both ways, it really depends," Gutierrez said. "You have to have the talent, and I believe Pedro Martinez has all of those talents."
And his familiarity with the district's strategic plan doesn't hurt.
"He basically doesn't need any training," Gutierrez said. "He'll understand the budget first hand. [He] was part of the strategic plan so we don't have to go over that. There's not going to be any lost time."