LAPS Superintendent Shares News in Open Letter to Staff

LAPS News:

Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt is sharing updates about the district in the following open letter to his staff:

April 4, 2013

Open Letter to the Staff:

I am pleased to share that the final touches are being placed on the district’s Strategic Plan.

I have presented two different drafts of the plan to the School Board over the past week.

There is still clean up and detail to add, but the plan is close enough to completion that I will begin allocating resources into the upcoming budget to reinforce Strategic Plan goals.

I will be meeting with each school staff before the end of the year to discuss the plan in greater detail. The plan sets lofty but attainable goals, including:

  • All schools in Los Alamos will earn an “A” grade on the New Mexico School Report Card by 2017
  • The district will raise the graduation rate to above 90% by 2016 with all graduates being college and career ready
  • By 2016, the district will be consistently ranked in the top ten percent of New Mexico school districts for staff salaries
  • The district will continue to grow its national image for excellence in education

I welcome your comments and suggestions as I write greater detail including timelines, costs, responsibilities, benchmarks along the way.

One of the first steps in the Strategic Plan is to redesign the organizational structure of our administrative team.  

As part of the restructure, I will combine many of the duties of the Assistant Superintendent and Human Resources Coordinator. 

By combining these two positions, the district will realize a significant cost savings. As such, I am pleased to share that Gerry Washburn accepted my invitation to serve as the new Assistant Superintendent in charge of Instruction and HR. 

In addition, Joanie Ahlers accepted my invitation to oversee the operations of Construction, Facilities and Assets. 

John Wolfe will continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer and oversee the fiscal and transportation operation of the district.

As part of the path forward, I will work more closely with the school principals on the implementation of the Strategic Plan.

A more detailed organization chart is being developed that will explain the links to departments and support staff.

By the time staff returns from spring break, the district will be developing next year’s operational budget.

A budget committee of about 30+ staff and community will be formed to develop the budget. Staff and community input are welcomed in this conversation.

It is my hope to provide ongoing updates to staff during the budget building process. In addition, there will be opportunities for staff and community to share thoughts with the School Board in upcoming budget meetings. 

At this time, the Governor has not signed the state budget yet; but, our district does expect a slight increase in funding from the state. More information will be provided when the budget process begins.

I am also pleased to share that our district was approved for AdvancEd Accreditation. A formal announcement will take place at the May Board meeting.

It is my hope to personally deliver certificates to each of the schools for this accomplishment. However, one more step will take place on April 16 when AdvancED staff “revisit” the district to verify the rubric scoring.

I continue to be very impressed and proud of the wonderful work of staff. As an example, I congratulate Margo Batha, who was named State Debate Coach of the Year.

Join with me in congratulating Janet Newton on being accepted to a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute.  

And, congratulations to Tammy Hinckley for her selection to train at the Smithsonian Institute this summer.

In closing, I wish you a wonderful and well-deserved spring break. I look forward to sharing thoughts with you at the professional development day on April 15.


Gene Schmidt

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