School Board Divided 3-2 To Retain Superintendent

Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt
Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos School Board is divided 3-2 to retain Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt. Board Vice President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, Secretary Matthew Williams and member Kevin Honnell do not favor extending Schmidt’s contract for another year.

The School Board convened its fourth and final closed door session Thursday, Feb. 27 in the Chamisa Elementary conference room to discuss the evaluation of Schmidt. Monday, Schmidt announced his intent to resign effective June 30.

School Board President Jim Hall

Schmidt has been at the helm of the district for five years and confirmed Monday that he is just one year away from retirement. He did not offer a reason for resigning early, but is giving the impression that he does not want to go.

“The full support of the board just wasn’t there,” he said. 

School Board Member David Foster

When the news of Schmidt’s resignation hit Monday, Board President Jim Hall and member David Foster expressed support for Schmidt and the job he has performed for the district. Foster said he was “extremely disappointed” that Schmidt was resigning.

It remains unclear why, despite praising Schmidt in statements to the media, Bjarke-McKenzie, Williams and Honnell do not support extending his contract.

School Board Vice President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie

When asked why they don’t support Schmidt, Bjarke-McKenzie told the Los Alamos Daily Post, “Dr. Schmidt is really good at public relations but there were some things from previous evaluations that he has not done,” adding that she could not give specifics because it’s a personnel matter.

Williams and Honnell have not responded to questions posed Monday about why they issued the following highly complimentary statements about Schmidt and his job performance, yet do not want to extend his contract:

School Board Secretary Matt Williams

Williams – “I’ve only been on the School Board for one year, but I’ve worked often with the District Office for several years before joining the Board. I’ve always had a great respect for Dr. Schmidt. He has always worked hard for our School District and he cares very deeply for all of the students, staff and families of our community. There have been many new programs started in the District under Dr. Schmidt’s leadership, it is important for us to ensure that these programs flourish going forward. I respect Dr. Schmidt and his decision and I truly wish him all the best as he moves on to his next endeavors.”

School Board Member Kevin Honnell

Honnell – “Dr. Schmidt is a dedicated and hard-working educator who, over the past five years, has given 110 percent to our community. He is a kind and considerate gentleman who cares about the success of every single student. I thank him for his investment in the children of Los Alamos and White Rock and wish him well as he moves to the next stage of his career.”

This issue is not on the agenda so is not expected to be addressed by the board at today’s Regular School Board meeting at 5:30 p.m., in Topper Theater at Los Alamos High School, 1300 Diamond Dr.