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Education

  • School board applicant deadline set for Friday

    Residents of School Board Position 3 have until the close of the business day on Friday to submit an application for the open position.
    Applicants are also asked to submit a notarized Declaration of Candidacy (can be picked up at the School District Office or at the County Clerk’s Office), a one page resume, and a 300-500 word narrative that explains the applicant’s intent and philosophy of education. Application packets will be considered public documents.
    To fill this position, the applicant must be a registered voter and resident living within School Board Boundary No. 3 and willing to serve the remainder David Foster’s term that ends in March 2015. School Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie stated applicant packets must be submitted to Gayla Romero (secretary to the school board) at the District Office at 2075 Trinity by Friday.
    Residents of School Board Position 3 are invited to submit questions to Bjarke-McKenzie at j.bjarke-mckenzie@laschools.net by Sept. 9. Selected questions will be asked to prospective school board applicants Thursday, Sept. 11 at a special school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the school board room at 2075 Trinity. The community is invited to this special school board meeting.

  • Slide to be repaired soon

    According to school officials, the playground slide that was burned and destroyed in an apparent arson at Piñon Elementary in the early morning hours of Aug. 14 could be back by the middle of September.
    According to Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt and the school district’s chief of operations, Joanie Ahlers, the slide and the replacements for the other parts and components of the playground that were damaged will be arriving soon.
    “Factoring the installation and the delivery time of the parts, we believe the playground should be back online by Sept. 11 or 12,” Schmidt said.
    Jill Gonzales, the school’s principal said they’ve taken down the remains of the slide and have taken off all the damage parts, so the other parts of the playground will be safe for use. She said the damaged section had already cordoned off from the rest of the playground and students aren’t allowed into that section until the slide is repaired.
    “We’ve cordoned it off so students won’t get injured, but, they still have access to 50 percent of the play structure,” she said.

  • Ice bucket challenge

    Left to right: Student Council Advisor Joanne Ploeger, Los Alamos High School Principal Debbie Balew-Nyquist, Athletic Director Ann Stewart, Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Gerry Washburn await their fate during an Ice Bucket Challenge at the high school.

  • High school open house
  • Not back to school breakfast set for Thursday

    The annual Not back to school breakfast was held Thursday. The breakfast was started by retiree Bill Hudson 40 years ago. He called a few retirees ,and they called some others, and the rest is history. Judy Crocker was the organizers and the retirees enjoyed a catered breakfast at Kelly Hall at Trinity on the Hill. Pictured here are Inez Ross and Bill Hudson.

  • Fire damages Piñon playground

    It took five days for workers to install the new slide at the Piñon Elementary School.
    It took less than five minutes, though, for all that work to go up in flames.
    Superintendent Gene Schmidt announced the school district has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person(s) responsible for the vandalism to the Piñon playground.
    Police and the fire department responded to a call of a fire on the Piñon playground.
    At approximately 1:28 a.m. Thursday, which was also the first day of school, a report from a resident was called in to Fire Station 3. Police officers Corporal Sheldon Simpson, Detective Joey Robinson, and firefighters from Engine 10 responded and extinguished the fire within minutes.
    No structures were damaged; however, the recently installed “big toy” slide on the upper playground was badly damaged. The slide, made of plastic, melted and excessive burn marks could be seen.
    Principal Jill Gonzales, who arrived at the scene at around 2:30 a.m. said when she arrived the arson investigator already was there.
    “The top priority is to get this replaced,” Gonzales said.
    Schmidt said, “It saddens me this senseless, mean-spirited act disrupted the first day for students.”

  • Heading back to school

    Today was the first day of school for Los Alamos County students. 

  • Back to school reception
  • School superintendent search gets underway

    Two Los Alamos residents have apparently expressed an interest in becoming the next superintendent, according to Judy Bjarke-McKenzie. Because of workplace confidentiality laws regarding employees and potential employees, Bjarke-McKenzie said she can say no more about it, except that the search is just beginning.
    “These two individuals approached us,” she said shortly after their executive session meeting ended last week. “We also plan to cast a wider net.”
    Bjarke-McKenzie said she hopes the process of finding a candidate will wrap up sometime in January.
    “We’re are also planning on having staff and community input,” she said, adding that they also plan to set the candidate qualifications and criteria at a public meeting sometime in the near future.
    In March of this year, Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt announced his resignation, effective at the end of this year. He cited not having the full support of the school board as a reason.
    While rumors swirled about what those possible reasons could be, from disagreements on how to modify the state’s teacher evaluation process to disagreements on how to handle declining school enrollment through closing a schools, no one in the administration or on the school board would disclose the reasons or confirm rumors.

  • New principal to lead Mountain

    When the school bell rings in August, one former kindergartener becomes the principal at Mountain Elementary.
    LAPS teacher and former Piñon Panther, Jennifer Guy has risen through the ranks and will take the reins at Mountain’s top spot.
    Guy takes the position after teaching 24 years in a variety of grade levels, K through eighth, and in a great deal of learning situations.
    “I have been extensively involved with mentoring programs for teachers across the state,” said Guy. “I have worked with teachers and leaders from around the state and across the country on Common Core standards and student assessments.”
    Last year, she had the opportunity to work as an administrative intern, under the tutelage of Piñon Elementary Principal, Jill Gonzales, which Guy describes as “wonderful.”
    Guy also comes to the playground with a Master’s degree in Pedagogy and Learning, licenses and endorsements in Teaching English as a Second Language and Early Childhood education and completed the back to school list, by recently earning her administrative certification from Eastern New Mexico University.
    Guy had been teaching kindergarten at Piñon for the past eight years and loves the joy they bring to learning, which she brings as well.