Letter to the Editor: School Board Urged To Extend Superintendent’s Contract

Los Alamos

I find the circumstances of the resignation of Dr. Schmidt and comment by the LAPS Board members to be disconcerting.

Dr. Schmidt has guided LAPS through rather stormy seas these past five years with astute understanding, skill, and reasoned balance — surely qualities of leadership that have been, are, and remain essential.

Beyond this, he has been a “hands on” and participatory superintendent — he doesn’t simply sit in his office giving direction, he is in the schools with the teachers and, most importantly, the kids. How many superintendents would deign to sit in with the band classes, or wear a silly blue mop as part of an educational activity? Is this not preferable to an ivory tower administrator who is distant and aloof?

The Board members have said some very nice things about Dr. Schmidt. His overall record is one of positive contribution; he certainly has done no harm. Given both, and given that a contract extension would only be for the one year to his normal retirement, where is the logic in the Board not immediately offering Dr. Schmidt that extension?

Certainly it would do no harm, it would continue the good that Dr. Schmidt has already done, and it would allow both the superintendent and the Board to smoothly transition to a new administration not only in the selection of a new superintendent but as well in the completion of projects and policies and the development of new directions to which a date certain timeline would be beneficial.

I do not see that any good can come from this rather abrupt change in leadership — bombshells are after all more destructive than constructive — and I urge the Board to offer Dr. Schmidt the one year contract extension.