Frustration Sparked School Board Secretary’s Saturday Night Email

School Board Secretary Matt Williams
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos School Board Secretary Matt Williams explained that he had become very frustrated and that is why he sent his Saturday night email to President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, copying the entire board and the Los Alamos Daily Post.

“It was a vent out of frustration,” Williams said during a telephone call with the Los Alamos Daily Post Tuesday. “It was just that I had an uneasy feeling that much had gone on – when I received the agenda for Thursday’s school board meeting – that I thought the entire board should have been in on.”

The School Board has scheduled an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Elementary School to “discuss limited personnel matters, specifically the resignation of Dr. Eugene Schmidt from the position of superintendent and his potential assignment to another position.”

Williams went on to explain that he has since been talking with board members and it is standard practice for board members and especially the president to meet individually with the superintendent.

“I shouldn’t have used the word ‘secret’ about the president’s meetings with the superintendent. I have been exchanging emails with Judy and other facts have come out that I need to verify but it seems everything is fine,” he said.

What has appeared to be dissention among school board members came to light earlier this month when the superintendent tendered his resignation the morning after the final in a series of closed door sessions to discuss his performance evaluation.

Williams, Bjarke-McKenzie and board member Kevin Honnell were not in favor of extending the superintendent’s contract and board members Jim Hall and David Foster were. There has been no talk of wrongdoing on the part of the superintendent, but rather that “Dr. Schmidt is really good at public relations but there were some things from previous evaluations that he has not done,” according to Bjarke-McKenzie in an earlier interview.

Schmidt has served the district for five years. His current contract runs out June 30 and he has one year until retirement. To bring in an interim superintendent rather than retain Schmidt while searching for a permanent one seemed counterproductive to some on the board.  

There are signs that the board may be moving toward a more unified view of this issue and might actually resolve it at Thursday’s meeting.

“The board is fairly cohesive now and not as great at odds as it might seem to the community,” Williams said.

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