The Guinn Center, a nonpartisan research and policy center, announced that it has named Jill Tolles as the Executive Director. Tolles’ term will begin on Jan. 1, 2023.
“Given Jill’s extensive background and her impeccable understanding of the importance of policy, I am excited that the Guinn Center will have her as the executive director,” University Executive Vice President and Provost Jeff Thompson said. “I am confident that her experience, passion, and expertise will help propel the Center to a continued successful future.”
The Guinn Center, which joined the University of Nevada, Reno in July 2021, serves Nevada as a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy center that addresses key challenges faced by policymakers in Nevada through sound research and pragmatic thinking. The organization seeks to advance evidence-based policy solutions through research, public engagement, and strategic partnerships. As a policy lab, the Guinn Center works closely with practitioners to provide relevant analysis, develop and implement evidence-based programs, and test actionable solutions. The Guinn Center has published more than 60 policy reports on topics related to taxation, fiscal management, education, health care, social concerns, economic development, workforce development, governance, climate, and energy.
“The Guinn Center Board is thrilled to have Jill Tolles as its new Executive Director,” Guinn Center Board Chair Phil Satre said. “Since its founding in 2014 the Guinn Center has always been about seeking the common ground of sound policy decisions for local and state officials to consider as they address complex challenges that uniquely affect Nevada. In Jill Tolles, we have an individual who since 2006 has engaged with the communities of Nevada and helped make them better through her sound reasoning, professional experiences, and impeccable personal character. Jill has made it her calling and her purpose to positively impact the future of the people of Nevada. We could not be more pleased to have her take this key role, at this critical time, in the ongoing vision of the Guinn Center to identify and advance sound policies and actionable solutions that support a thriving and prosperous Nevada.”
Tolles received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communications Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has been teaching at the University since 2005 as a member of the faculty of Communications Studies, Extended Studies, and the National Judicial College.
Prior to joining the Guinn Center, Tolles served three terms in the Nevada Legislature as the Assemblywoman for District 25, where she has served on the Education, Judiciary, Commerce and Labor, and Ways and Means Committees. Additionally, she served in two special sessions and three interim sessions on the Interim Finance Committee, Legislative Committee on Education, Legislative Committee on Energy, and the Nevada Sentencing Commission.
“Jill is the perfect choice for Executive Director of the Guinn Center,” Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said. “In our years together at the Nevada Legislature, she demonstrated an unyielding work ethic as well as the empathy and compassion needed to research and craft good, effective policy. Nevada was and will continue to be better off for her service.”
“I have known Jill Tolles for years as a community leader, legislator and friend,” Senate Minority Leader Heidi Seevers-Gansert said. “She’s well respected and has the expertise and experience to propel the Guinn Center and its much-needed evidence-based policy research forward. I’m thrilled she’ll be leading an organization so critical to our state.”
Tolles succeeds Dr. Dana Bennett who served as the interim executive director since June 2022 when she stepped into the role after the previous executive director, Dale Erquiaga, was named acting chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education by the Nevada Board of Regents.