Washoe County Leadership Academy


What is the Washoe County Leadership Academy?


Washoe County is proud to bring back the Washoe County Leadership Academy, now in its second year. This is a 9-month educational and leadership program unlike any other in the community, promoting knowledge of local government and providing leadership training in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension.

One day per month, participants will be exposed to various aspects of Washoe County services, from the Sheriff's Office to the Libraries. See how community partners are preserving Lake Tahoe, what makes Washoe County unique with a visit to Gerlach and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe museum, and who Eilley Bowers really was with a tour of her historic mansion. This program sheds light on the inner workings of local government and provides insight on how to get involved in county government.

Each class will also complete a community project to put their new skills into practice and to improve the county, all the while developing their personal and professional networks.

Approximately 30 individuals from across the county will be selected to participate - apply today!


What's included?

  • Nine full days of content, including team building with your classmates and behind-the-scenes tours. 
  • Transportation from the Washoe County Administration Building in Reno to the various sites. 
  • Lunch each day, plus continental breakfast items and snacks.

What does the program cost?

The program is completely free to selected participants.

Why Participate?

  • Get an up-close look at how local county government works, better understand the breadth of services available to constituents, and how the county impacts your everyday life.
  • Grow your network to benefit yourself and your organization as it spans across the professional spectrum to gain new business and community contacts.
  • Walk away with increased knowledge of the community, new friends, and pride in having completed a community project that will impact the county for years to come.

Application Information

Because space in the academy is limited, applicants are encouraged to carefully assess their personal and professional calendars for the upcoming year and ensure their employer will support participation in this rigorous program. The Washoe County Leadership Academy requires a full day away from the office each month for 9 months, and full participation is expected. An absence will require completion of a comprehensive make-up assignment in the context of the information missed, with more than one absence resulting in dismissal from the program, regardless of the reason.

Applicants that may need accommodations to participate in the academy are encouraged to contact Commissioner Support prior to applying.   

Application Period: June 1, 2023 - July 14, 2023.

The application period has closed for the 2023-2023 Academy.

Review Period & Participant Selections: Through July 21

All applicants will be contacted no later than August 04, 2023

The program launches August 18, 2023, and will continue through April 19, 2024, culminating with a graduation ceremony attended by Washoe County leadership.

Application Closed

2023-2024 Dates and Themes:

Welcome to the Washoe County Leadership Academy. Today we launch the Washoe County Leadership Academy with a bang! On this introductory day participants will get to know their fellow teammates with whom they will be spending the next nine months, as well as key staff members running the program. The morning promises to be fun, engaging, and will open the door to creating lasting relationships. Then, we lay the foundation for the program including an overview of the role of local government in your daily lives. And finally, an introduction to the class project that will allow participants to leave a legacy in our community.

Beautiful Incline Village and Bowers Mansion Regional Park are on deck for our day dedicated to The Gems of Washoe County. Visit striking Lake Tahoe and take a private tour of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center to learn how this iconic lake draws crowds to Washoe County from around the world, and what we can do to protect its majesty. Learn more about the affordable housing shortage hitting resort destinations, short term rentals, and how Washoe County is working to address these issues while embracing growth and tourism. Then, stop by Bowers Manion Regional Park to learn about the Comstock millionaires that made this a welcoming place for all, and the many programs taking place here each spring and summer.

From Womb to Tomb, Washoe County is by your side. Today, we explore how Washoe County assists citizens throughout their lives including a visit to Washoe District Health, a trip to the Registrar of Voters, the Washoe County Clerk’s Office, the Recorder’s Office, and Senior Services to learn of the many resources available to keep seniors in our county healthy and engaged. Finally, an intriguing visit to the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled, including a look at their tissue recovery suite so that you can continue to impact others even after death.

Rural History & Our Sustainable Future will take participants to parts of Washoe County that are a mystery to many, including the Black Rock Desert, home of the international festival Burning Man, a private tour of Fly Geyser, and a visit to Gerlach’s community art trail. No trip to Gerlach would be complete without lunch at Bruno’s Country Club. Later, enjoy the opportunity to meet with native tribe storytellers with a visit to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitor Center. Special guest Dave Santina, host of Wild Nevada airing on PBS Reno, joins us for rural Washoe County stories along the way, and the day wraps with information on what Washoe County is doing to create a sustainable future.

Dedicated to Public Service day will explore the innerworkings of Washoe County and discover the people and services that keep our community thriving. What do I need to start a business? What is a master plan? Where is my snowplow? From snow removal to property development and code enforcement, our public service employees work tirelessly to ensure that the county runs like clockwork. Our day will kick off with a spotlight on the Community Services Department, where you'll meet the faces behind the scenes and learn about their important work. We'll also hear from the dedicated crews of Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue, who play a vital role in keeping our community safe. And no tour of Washoe County would be complete without a visit to the South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (STMWRF). See firsthand how our cutting-edge technology and process improvements are turning "yuck" into clean and safe water, all while promoting sustainability and public health. Ask not what you can do, but what your doo-doo can do for you. You won’t want to miss this incredible day of education, appreciation, and fun!

Law & Order Day introduces participants to how Washoe County maintains safety and order in our community. The day will begin with a trip to the District Court in downtown Reno where you will receive a tour of the court, hear about its haunted history, and how Reno became a hotspot for hopeful divorcees. The role of the District Attorney, the Public Defender and district court judges in maintaining law and order will be discussed. Then, visit the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and see the important role it plays in public safety. Participants will also take a look at the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center to better learn how troubled young citizens are provided opportunities to rehabilitate and adjust their lifestyles. With a special look at the forensics lab and a visit with a K-9 officer, today is going to be a memorable one.

It’s February, and with that, everyone is thinking about hearts. This month, participants will explore the softer side of the heart as we take a deep dive into The Heart of the County: Helping our Vulnerable Populations. Today we will learn about the county’s Built for Zero housing model with on-site exploration of county facilities made for houseless individuals, discover programs for those in recovery and transitioning to permanent housing, and a trip to Washoe County Regional Animal Services to learn how we help vulnerable, voiceless animals.

Bringing Calm to Chaos, we bring you excitement and then relaxation in unique ways. By now, Washoe County Leadership Academy participants are working in close collaboration with each other for a class project and have enjoyed several sessions of interactive leadership training. Let’s put those skills to the test as we visit the Regional Emergency Operations Center for a greater understanding of how Washoe County works across jurisdictions and cultures to create calm in the storm during an emergency. Participants will gain an understanding of the multiple moving parts and roles of emergency management before undertaking an emergency scenario for a mock emergency plan-of-action. Take a peek at the 9-1-1 dispatch center and gain a whole new appreciation for these everyday heroes. After the thrill of the morning, we take your nerves down a notch as we enjoy the beautiful downtown Library for a greater understanding of the many offerings of the Washoe County Library System. From craft projects to legal aid, we promise you it’s more than simply books!

Today marks the culmination of the Washoe County Leadership Academy! Participants will share one last lesson with Dr. Marlene Rebori before presenting their class project to county leaders and elected officials. Enjoy a celebratory lunch and receive a plaque to proudly display your achievement as a graduate of the Washoe County Leadership Academy. We hope that you will leave this Academy with a greater understanding of the county, yourself, and what you can do to improve the community.

Questions?  Contact the Washoe County Commission Support Team at 775-328-2003 or email commissionersupport@washoecounty.gov.  
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »