Married executive director, principal dedicated to helping students reach potential
HENDERSON, Nev. – Nevada State High School, an institution where Clark County juniors and seniors can earn college credits while still in high school, is truly a labor of love. No aspect of the high school proves this point more than the married duo who leads the school, Principal Dr. Wendi Hawk and Executive Director Dr. John Hawk.
The Hawks have been active in Nevada State High School since before its establishment in 2004. Sitting on a committee together with five other individuals, they were essential to the school’s creation. Wendi Hawk was the school’s sole employee for its first year and enlisted the help of John Hawk as a part-time administrative employee in 2005. After the first two years, both Hawks were full-time employees and were committed personally and professionally to helping students with college as Nevada State High School’s leaders.
“It’s the accountability we have to the students and the state that motivates us every day,” John Hawk said. “We’ve been given the freedom and flexibility from the state department to run this program in exchange for being held more accountable for the education we’re offering the students. It’s all about providing each student with the best learning experience possible.”
Prior to her work with Nevada State High School, Wendi Hawk held an administrative position for Clark County. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in secondary education, history, and special education from the University of Nevada – Reno and her master’s (M.Ed.) and doctoral (Ed.D.) degrees in educational leadership from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.
In the fall of 1998, John Hawk earned his master’s degree from UNLV and followed that with a doctorate degree in educational leadership in 2001. Prior to his position with Nevada State High School, he was a teacher for the Clark County School District, and he was previously elected to the Nevada State Board of Education.
The Hawks, who serve as teachers, counselors and administrators at the school, have grown enrollment from 40 students in the school’s first year to 250 students. Although working together means being together almost nonstop, the duo said that instead of being in need of space, they thrive off the situation.
“Working together is really inspirational,” Wendi Hawk said. “We’re able to constantly talk and discover and rethink what we’re doing practically 24 hours a day. For me it’s incredible because it pushes us to strive for constant evolution and to be better all the time.”
John Hawk agreed, adding that it provides for rich discussions and an “awesome” environment.
The Hawks’ dedication to the school goes beyond the walls of the classroom and into the individual preparation for the future of each student, putting a strong emphasis on catering the education of each individual to his or her particular needs. The Hawks also work hard to have personal relationships with the students.
“We have a vested interest in our students’ future, and we take all their successes and failures personally,” Wendi Hawk said. “Regardless of their educational background, we put the emphasis on what they leave Nevada State High School with. It’s all about preparing our students for that transition from high school to post high school education without a problem.”
Current sophomores and juniors enrolled at Clark County public and private schools are eligible to apply to NSHS to begin classes fall 2010. Once accepted into the school, NSHS works with students on their college curriculum and personally enrolls students into college courses that work together with their respective CCSD high school’s coursework in order for students to receive dual credit for both high school and college courses. NSHS also works with students to keep them active in their zoned high school’s extracurricular activities to ensure that students don’t miss out on traditional high school experiences. Since opening its doors, NSHS has graduated more than 300 students.
For more information on Nevada State High School call 702-953-2600 or visit www.earlycollegenv.com.