Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Board of Education unanimously renewed Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus’ contract for three more years, which is the maximum amount of time allowed by state law.
The decision to extend the contract occurred during the Feb. 14 regular school board meeting. In addition to extending his contract, the board offered Steinhaus a raise identical to the amount offered to all other staff. His new salary will be determined after the state legislature makes decisions on funding and after negotiations with the union.
“I’m pleased and honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the students, and parents and community of Los Alamos,” Steinhaus said. “I like to thank the school board for its many hours and dedication to the Los Alamos Public Schools.”
School Board President Jim Hall explained the extended contract is a result of Steinhaus’ performance to date. Steinhaus has worked at LAPS for two years.
“This school board has a tremendous amount of faith in Kurt Steinhaus and believes he is doing a tremendous job,” Hall said.
He added as superintendent that Steinhaus has external and internal roles. Externally, he is the face of the district, which has been a great success, Hall said, pointing out that recently voters passed a bond to rebuild Barranca Elementary School and upgrade facilities throughout the district by the highest percentage on record.
Additionally, Hall said Steinhaus attends outside events and works well with officials and parents. Internally, Hall said the district is in the best financial status it has ever been in and the district was able to weather a $1 million cut without laying off any staff.
“The school district has made substantial progress under Kurt and I think the board believes Kurt is the leader for the next several years. Based on his experience, the board believes Kurt is the right leader to continue at LAPS for the next three years,” Hall said.
In his evaluation, Steinhaus listed his many achievements during the course of his time as superintendent. These achievements include, recognition by the Legislative Education Study Committee staff Feb. 11 that LAPS is top in the state for achievement and meeting expected growth; receiving additional funds for Reads to Lead and a second year for the Title 1 program; and successfully launching the Freshman Academy one-on-one pilot so that every freshman student has a laptop computer.
Hall noted Steinhaus’ background has been beneficial to the district. “Kurt’s experience in Santa Fe as part of the education department and his knowledge of the schools around the state has also been very helpful,” Hall said.
It also made sense to extend Steinhaus’ contract because in 2019, there will be a major turnover on the board as three positions will become open, he said. Before the new board decides to make any contract changes, Hall said it is important for them to spend a year with Steinhaus.
Steinhaus’ performance has not only pleased the board but also parents, staff and students. Hall said in January the board sent out surveys about the district to a variety of people including staff, parents and students and looking at the feedback from the surveys, “I would say probably 80 percent was between very good to outstanding.”
Despite all this good news, Hall said, “I think everyone recognizes there is still work to be done.” For instance, the new health curriculum needs to be fleshed out and implemented and the budget will continue to be addressed, Hall said.