Principals Named for New WCSD Schools

Reno, NV (February 13, 2018) – Three veteran educators will serve as principals for the new Washoe County School District (WCSD)  schools scheduled to open in August 2019:

  • Don Angotti (currently serving as principal of Sun Valley Elementary School) will become principal at Nick Poulakidas Elementary School in south Reno.
  • Laura Petersen (currently serving as principal at Dilworth STEM Academy) will become principal at the new middle school in Sun Valley.
  • Gina Leonhard (currently serving as principal at Yvonne Shaw Middle School) will become principal at Sky Ranch Middle School in Spanish Springs.

The three new schools will help relieve overcrowding in Spanish Springs and south Reno, and the three principals will assume their new positions in July. They will work closely during the coming year with the District’s capital projects department, architects, and builders of the three new schools. A major focus of their work involves curriculum and instruction, and ensuring that the new schools will contain 21st Century Learning components. In addition, the principals will be staffing the new schools with teachers and support staff needed to open the doors to new students in August 2019.

In addition to the construction of the three new schools, the District also continues efforts to rezone schools and move sixth-graders to middle schools. These combined efforts could result in overcrowding relief at more than two dozen other schools Districtwide. Construction of the schools, and a 22-room expansion at Damonte Ranch High School, were made possible by the passage of WC-1 in November 2016, legislation which provided a consistent source of funding for the District’s capital project needs. For more information, visit

As part of its commitment to transparency, WCSD and the Board of Trustees have encouraged and enabled public input throughout the process of building and naming the new schools. The School Naming Committee, comprised of District staff and members of the community, held public meetings, asked for nominations, and submitted finalists to the Board for final decisions. The Zoning Advisory Committee also holds public meetings and encourages public comment and input regarding future zoning changes in the District. The next meeting is slated for Thursday, February 15 at Sepulveda Elementary school at 5:30 pm.

Don Angotti

Don Angotti has worked for WCSD since 1995, and began his career as a teacher at Spanish Springs Elementary School. He moved into administration in 1999 as dean of students at Stead Elementary School, and has served as assistant principal and principal since.

He earned his Master of Arts in Administration from the University of Phoenix, an Elementary Certification from Sierra Nevada College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.




Gina Leonhard


Gina Leonhard has worked for WCSD since 1993, when she joined the District as a science and math teacher at O’Brien Middle School. She was named assistant principal of Shaw Middle School in 2004, and became principal at Shaw in 2010.

She earned a Master of Arts degree in Education/Administration from University of Phoenix, and also graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1992 with a degree in biology.




Laura Petersen


Laura Petersen has worked for WCSD since 1994, and began her career as a special education teacher at Lois Allen Elementary School. She became principal of Lois Allen Elementary in 2003, and became principal at Dilworth STEM Academy in 2010.

She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in elementary education and special education, earned her Master of Arts degree in Education Administration from the University of Phoenix, and is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at UNR.