Questions: Did Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve attend some college, where did she graduate from high school and is she educated enough to pursue complex high-tech initiatives for the city?
Short answers: No, she did not attend some college. She graduated from the former Washoe County High School. And whether you need a college degree to knowledgably discuss government policy on blockchain and cryptocurrency, that’s open to opinion but many people without college degrees have found great success in tech.
A subscriber named Kevin commented on the RGJ primary voter guide profile of Hillary Schieve, who is running for her third term to be Reno’s mayor.
“The article states that she has ‘some college,’” he wrote. “Where did she go to college? What was her major? I can’t even find where she received her HS diploma.
“Her official city bio states, ‘she attended Reno High School.’ One can infer that she did not graduate, and the bio says NOTHING about ‘attending’ any college. In addition, Reno High School lists all of their graduates’ names online and Hillary Schieve’s name is not on the list.
“In 2016, she made a PBS PSA (public service announcement) about the fact that she did graduate from high school. If she did graduate from high school, where is her HS diploma from?
“Ms. Schieve is pushing cryptocurrencies, which is pretty complicated stuff for even finance graduates. If she had a hard time academically in HS, which she states in the PBS spot, she has no business pushing this type of technology on to her constituents.”
Hillary Schieve is running for her third term as Reno mayor. The bulleted biographical information in Schieve’s 2022 RGJ primary voter guide profile said under education that she’d had “some college.”
I take responsibility for leading the witness on this question. I said during a phone interview, “What should I put for you under education – some college?” She replied, “OK.”
Additionally, I failed to notice in a 2018 RGJ voter guide that, for education, Schieve had said “high school diploma.”
“I went away to college in Arizona and became really sick with kidney failure from a strep throat infection,” she said in a phone interview this week with the RGJ.
Her sister Amanda donated a kidney to save her life.
“I kind of feel like I got my college degree at Stanford University because that’s where I had my transplant and learned a lot of lessons about life, to never take anything for granted,” Schieve said.
Before the kidney transplant, she had enrolled in Arizona State University. After recovering, she enrolled again, this time at a college in Arizona.
“I was gonna go back to school and then my mom suffered a brain aneurysm so I had to become the breadwinner,” she said. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that, and I opened my own business. So, no, I didn’t get to go” to college.
Schieve is the owner of Plato’s Closet, a used clothing store in Reno.
Where Schieve graduated from
Her official City of Reno bio says she “attended” Reno High, not that she graduated. The reader wanted to know where she graduated from, if indeed she did.
In the late 1980s, Schieve was competing in figure skating at the national level and a member of the U.S. Figure Skating association. She said she attended Reno High for three years.
“My senior year, I was out a lot for skating, training in Colorado, and coming back and forth,” she said.
This is when she switched to what was then called Washoe County High School. It was a school for students who needed more flexible schedules than a traditional school. It’s now called Innovations.
Because of privacy concerns, Washoe County School District required written permission from Schieve before saying whether she graduated. It also needed her birthdate in order to search that far back.
The district found her records and confirmed “she graduated 9/20/1990.”
The RGJ voter guide stories have been updated to correct Schieve’s past education.
Smart enough for crypto?
It felt awkward to ask how Schieve could feel smart enough to understand the high-tech projects she’s been pursuing for the city of Reno, such as blockchain technology and NFTs (nonfungible tokens).
She said she’s used to harsh questions from people doubting her abilities.
“How can Bill Gates understand what he understands?” she responded.
Bill Gates is not a college graduate.
Tumblr founder David Karp dropped out of high school at 15.
Richard Branson has described himself as a poor student due to dyslexia and dropped out of school at 16, before becoming a billionaire behind the Virgin brand as well as a space tourism company.
Often called the first internet billionaire, Jim Clark dropped out of school at 16 and later co-founded Netscape.
Diplomas are not required for tech intelligence or success.
“There are a lot of people with great degrees who aren’t doing anything with them,” Schieve said.
“It’s about your desire. I try to tell young girls we absolutely need you to run for office, and I tell them there’s nothing special about me. If I can do it, you can do it. Whatever barriers that people think that you should be tagged with, we’ve got to stop that kind of stigma.”
Even so, Schieve is a big promoter of college.
“All it does is open doors,” she said. “Go, it will only help you. But there are some people who can’t afford to go, like I couldn’t afford to go to college. And sometimes college isn’t for everyone. I know a lot of people who are in the trades, and if that’s what they want to do, that’s great, too.”
Schieve gets animated when talking about blockchain technology.
“In Dubai, they’re building a virtual city hall where you can go in and get a business license or a driver’s license,” she said. “It’s fascinating.”