An atmosphere of excellence

-A A +A
By The Staff

As a recently retired teacher from LAPS, I have with interest followed the search for a new high school principal and assistant superintendent. With 38 years of teaching experience at the middle school level in three different states, including 12 years at a National Blue Ribbon School in lrvine, Calif., a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a major writer of the Baldrige award for LAMS and the LAPS, I feel that I understand what it takes to create an atmosphere of excellence within a school and district. However, I must admit my disappointment in Los Alamos’ recent decisions regarding these appointments.

After having listened to the two finalists for the high school principal’s position, I felt that Claudia Krause-Johnson would have brought to Los Alamos a new perspective and creative ideas about how to turn the high school into one of the top high schools in the nation, something given our clientele, we should easily have obtained. Instead of embracing someone who would have brought positive change and addressed those teachers who have become entrenched in the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality, Superintendent Schmidt opted for the easy way out. While Sandy Warnock is a very nice person and well liked by the high school staff, it is obvious her administrative experience did not match up to Ms. Krause-Johnson.

Then, after what was extolled as an extensive search for an assistant superintendent, Mr. Schmidt once again settled for the easy way out by appointing Paula Dean. Having taught in this district for 12 years and worked with many teachers in Santa Fe as part of my position as a teacher in Santa Fe Community College’s Alternative Licensing Program, I have to wonder if anyone in the district office talked to the teachers here or in Santa Fe who had concerns about Ms. Dean. Was this the best we could do? One has to ask why there was such secrecy about who was being interviewed or when the interviews took place, and why there was such a lag between the time teachers knew of the appointment and when it was reported in the Monitor.

One also has to ponder why Ms. Krause-Johnson, who was good enough to be one of the two finalists out of the 12 applicants for the high school position, was not even given an interview for assistant superintendent even though her qualifications more than met the advertised requirements. In addition, she made a positive impression on the high school interviewing committee as well as the audience during her presentation.

It is with a heavy heart that I contemplate the future of Los Alamos Public Schools. This district has passed up an opportunity to hire an educator who is respected throughout New Mexico as someone who not only has exceptional communication skills, but who also is knowledgeable about programs and opportunities that would lead Los Alamos to its rightful place among the top high schools and districts in the nation.

Cindy Kindinger  

Former social studies teacher, LAMS

Los Alamos