Questions linger as to why LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt announced his retirement following Thursday’s closed door school board meeting. From left, School Board Vice President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, President Jim Hall, Secretary Matthew Williams and board members Kevin Honnell and David Foster. Courtesy/LAPS
This morning’s news of the resignation of Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt has sent shockwaves through the community. In his letter, Schmidt provided no reason for his sudden resignation.
Two of the five members who comprise the local school board have responded to requests for comment with such glowing reports on Schmidt that it is becoming even more of a mystery as to why he is resigning.
Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt
It’s important to note that Schmidt’s resignation comes on the heels of last Thursday’s fourth and final special closed meeting of the school board to evaluate his performance and decide whether to extend his contract with the district.
It takes a majority of at least three board members to make that determination.
Attempts this morning to reach LAPS School Board Vice President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, Secretary Matthew Williams and board member Kevin Honnell have been unsuccessful, however, Board President Jim Hall and board member David Foster spoke with the Los Alamos Daily Post a few moments ago.
“It’s just been a year that I’ve worked with Gene, but in that year I’ve grown to respect him,” Hall said. “He’s worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in the district. He’s served LAPS during challenges such as cuts in state funding, major construction projects and an activist and reformist Public Education Department. He has reached out to many community organizations and local and national media, which has resulted in giving our schools the prominence they deserve … I think Gene has a lot to be proud of.”
Foster has worked with Schmidt for five years and expressed similar sentiments.
“I am extremely disappointed to hear that Gene is resigning his position as Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools,” Foster said. “He has made tremendous contributions to the district, he is a highly ethical man and I continue to be a very strong supporter.”
Foster attributed a very long list of accomplishments to Schmidt during the five years he has served as superintendent in Los Alamos. These accomplishments will be detailed in a follow-up report in the Los Alamos Daily Post, which hopefully will contain comments from the rest of the school board.