There are rare moments when we get to experience first-hand the reasons behind our convictions. My name is Wendy Willoughby, fourth generation Nevada County resident, parent of high school students, and I am running for the Nevada Joint Union High School Board. 

Sunday evening myself and two of my fellow candidates, Olivia Pritchett and Ken Johnson, held a Listening Session for students in our district. What we heard, the stories shared and solutions suggested, validated my decision to seek this office.

The impact of this event and the voices of our kids strengthens my commitment and resolve to bring my extensive personal, professional, and volunteer experience to the board representing the Grass Valley and Rough and Ready area.

With over 13 years as the Community Involvement Coordinator for the Nevada County Fair, I have built strong relationships throughout our community.  I’ve worked extensively with the arts, agriculture, and small businesses.   Those relationships, and my ability to bring people together will make me a proactive, and productive board member getting things done for our diverse students, and talented staff.  

My years as Managing Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership helped hone my skills as a facilitator and communicator.  I’ve trained many community leaders in running effective, engaged boards.  I know how to serve on a team and promote harmony within that team.  We need exactly that in our school board today.   We face many challenges ahead and will need to use our board time productively. 

I grew up with a deep appreciation for education, and as deep an appreciation for how hard our teachers work.  My mother taught first-grade for decades, mostly here in Nevada County at Bell Hill School.  As a parent, I have over 15 years invested in volunteering in the classroom and as a parent leader working with teachers and parents.  I served on the board at Tall Pines Nursery School and then as president of the foundation at my children’s grade school.  I’ve helped raise money, advocated for classroom needs, and been a driver of fiscal responsibility and transparency. 

We need a school board that partners with teachers, parents, students, and administration to make sure our schools maintain the high level of success we have previously enjoyed.   Then work to make them even better for all our students. I will bring a respectful, collaborative work style to the board.  

I am running for Area 2 Trustee of the Nevada Joint Union High School District because our students and educators deserve a governance team that will listen to them, respond to their concerns and lead ethically with integrity. 

If elected I will bring

  • decades of experience in respectful, collaborative, and transparent decision making
  • a uniquely ‘Nevada County’ perspective to the educational opportunities offered to our students
  • extensive experience in leadership training around board best practices
  • serious commitment to student safety, achievement, and the social, emotional well-being of the entire school community

We must work together to provide quality education in a safe environment to all our students.

It is the bedrock of our American democratic system.  

Many respected community members share this sentiment and express confidence in my abilities through their endorsement.

These include but are not limited to:

Ed and Carol Scofield             Ricki Heck                              Lisa Swarthout

Howard Levine                      Marty Lombardi Heidi Hall

Jason Fouyer                        Daryl Grigsby                          Keith Porter

For a more comprehensive list, including that of over 30 retired and current educational leaders, please visit

I’m a proven leader humbly asking for your vote on November 8th.