Schmidt to step down as school superintendent

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Education > Cites not having full support of board as reason

By Tris DeRoma

School officials have confirmed that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt will be resigning at the end of the school year.
On Monday, Schmidt sent a letter to the Los Alamos School Board informing the members of his intentions and his reasons for doing so.
Schmidt said he arrived at his decision through past conversations with the board on key issues.
Though he didn’t care to elaborate on which issues, he said, “I just got a sense it was time to move on. Sometimes you get a feeling you don’t have the full support of the board.”
Board President Jim Hall said, “Gene has worked about as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen. I think he cares about Los Alamos and the schools, and I really wish him the best.”
Hall said he had a lot of admiration for Schmidt, saying he became superintendent during a very difficult time in the school district’s history.
“The cutbacks in state funding, the push by the Public Education Department to improve our schools, he had to deal with a lot of challenges, and I really appreciated his service,” Hall said.
Schmidt said in his resignation letter that he plans to leave at the close of the school year on June 30. “In preparing for my departure, I share my intent to work closely with the school board to ensure a seamless transition.
“In sharing this decision, I first want to thank the community of Los Alamos for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve as superintendent for the past five years. Second, I extend my sincere thanks to school staff for their untiring commitment to public education and dedication to educational excellence. And most importantly, I thank students and their parents/guardians for welcoming me to Los Alamos and reaching out in friendship through these many years.”
In the past month, Schmidt has met with the school board behind closed doors on numerous occasions. The agenda to those closed sessions said one of the topics was Schmidt’s personnel evaluation.
“My contract with the district is over on June 30,” Schmidt said late Tuesday morning. “The evaluation and their interest in extending my contract, it became apparent to me that I didn’t have the support of all the board.”
School board member David Foster, one of those who supported Schmidt, said, “I was very disappointed to see it. I think he did a great job over the past five years and I’m sorry to see him going.
“As for the internal motivations that Gene may have had or the board may have had I don’t really have anything I can add to that. All I can say is that I’m a very strong supporter of him.
“In terms of discussions of closed sessions and contracts, those things went on behind closed doors, I really can’t comment on that.”