Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Angie Taylor
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -A Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame Basketball player is now the first Black School Board Trustee and President of the Silver State’s second-biggest school district.
From a childhood filled with obstacles, growing up in San Francisco… to three degrees from the UNR, Dr. Angie Taylor wants the next generation to know that your dreams are possible with a solid education!
Legacy Hall on Nevada’s campus houses many notable men and women who wore a Wolfpack jersey, but very few are black. “I think we were one and a half to two percent and I’m counting boys, girls, dogs and cats...you know what I mean? So, such a very small population and its difficult when you look around and don’t see a lot of people like yourself,” Dr. Taylor explains. She played basketball at UNR from 1981 to 1985. She was inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
Taylor’s time at Nevada extends well beyond the court. She returned in 1988 to work in Athletics. First as Women’s Sports Information and Promotions Coordinator. Then in the 1990′s, she was Senior Associate Athletics Director, receiving repeated assists in the form of support from Coach Chris Ault as she details, “He’d say...give Angie a master key. He made me feel welcome right away, I’ll never forget that. Even when he elevated me, and I was in charge of the women’s program and a few of the men’s sports. Dixie May of the May Foundation gave us the first million-dollar gift and that at the time was the largest one-time gift in the history of athletics. They knew the importance of having those athletics opportunities... So yeah to see those newspaper clippings framed up like that and still celebrated because it was a big deal and it makes me proud.”
She also worked in Alumni Relations and Student Success. Taylor says education changed her and her family’s life, “Mom worked really, really hard to instill in us, education is your key, education is your key. You get your education; you can be anybody you want to be, and I always say with a pun...and I was stupid enough to believe her! Oh, Mom says get your education, I can be anybody I want to be!”
Her undergrad days were the perfect bounce pass to continued success as she explains, “In basketball, those things that you learn, those tools that you learn about getting along with people, being the captain of a team, losing and winning and all of that stuff...those are leadership skills that I probably still use those on the Board of Trustees right now.”
She currently serves as President of the Washoe County School Board of Trustees, adding, “There’s also a level of pressure that comes along with that. It’s...I’m the first one, I can’t screw it up, I’m the first one, I got to get it right. There’s a level of pressure that comes with that and it’s hard to understand if you haven’t walked in these shoes.” Which is nothing she can’t handle, as the tenacity within an athlete never leaves. Taylor had to lean on that resilience when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2017.
“I cried, I asked God why...I mean all of that stuff right? Then you get to a point, where that athlete in you...you dust it off a little bit, that athlete in you says...you gotta fight!” Now she’s facing her biggest opponent ever, the deadly and widespread coronavirus, adding, “We know the best instruction for a vast majority of kids is in person, full time, face to face instruction. The most important thing we do in this school district happens in that classroom.”
Few decisions will please every single person who works or has a child within the school district, Taylor just wants everyone to know that she’s suited up and will keep pressing forward… “I want that school board to be better when I’m done, than it was when I got there. I want it to be different not because somebody was there, but because I was there. Not because I’m special but because I want to help.”
Some of her greatest passions are faith, education, leadership, and diversity. There may be a few water breaks…but this hoop star will keep pushing students and anyone else she meets to shoot for the stars!
Dr. Angie Taylor was elected School Board President unanimously on January 12th and is currently cancer-free.
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