• Schools excited about real estate deal for land

    For the past several years, the Los Alamos Public Schools has kept a wary eye on its declining enrollment levels, wondering if and when the decline was going to stop.
    The decline has been so steady that there has been talk of closing either Piñon Elementary School or Chamisa Elementary in response to the decline, or even expanding one school to accommodate the other’s student population.
    However, thanks to a recent real estate deal between the county and a company known as the A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC, that choice may never have to be made.
    According to county documents concerning the land deal, the name refers to the number assigned to a 70-acre parcel of land next to the White Rock Visitors Center. The land once belonged to the U.S. Department of Energy, but was sold to Los Alamos County in 2002.
    Recently, the county sold it to A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC. According to the county’s requests for proposal, the county was looking for a developer that could develop the site for a mixed use of apartments and shopping areas on the site.

  • Schools sweeten reading challenge

    The Los Alamos School Board and Los Alamos Public Schools have added a little more incentive for students to participate in some summer reading.
    Thanks to a little help from the community, children participating in the “New Mexico True Summer Reading Challenge” will have some extra prizes to look forward to once they reach the July 31 deadline.
    The idea came from a recent Los Alamos school board meeting, where school officials and the board discussed adding some extra prizes for the students who participate.
    As a result of that meeting, as well as conversations with the county, the students can look forward to more than $5,000 worth of extra prizes, thanks to the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, LANL Foundation and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The prizes will come in the form of “Chamber Checks,” that winners can use in local businesses.
    For its part, the board also made a motion to contribute up to $1,000 to the fund. The Los Alamos National Laboratory foundation contributed $1,500, LANL itself contributed $1,000, the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation contributed $1,000 and Los Alamos County contributed $1,000.

  • Parker named interim principal at LAHS

    Los Alamos High School has named a new interim principal for the 2015-16 school year.
    Brad Parker will take over for Debbie Belew-Nyquist effective today. Belew-Nyquist isn’t returning to LAHS next year.
    Prior to this new post, Parker has been at Capshaw Middle School in Santa Fe, serving as the principal there, as well as Vista Grande Elementary School in Rio Rancho and Jemez Valley Elementary School. He also served as the athletic director at Jemez Valley.
    He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia and a master’s in educational administration from the University of New Mexico.

  • LAPS names new assistant super

    Los Alamos Public Schools announced that Diane Katzenmeyer-Delgado was named assistant superintendent, replacing recently departed administrator Gerry Washburn.
    Katzenmeyer-Delgado is scheduled to start with LAPS June 11.
    Along with Katzenmeyer-Delgado, LAPS also announced that Keith Rosenbam will rejoin the school district as transportation director.
    It has been a busy time at LAPS, with several top administrators leaving in fairly quick succession, including former superintendent Gene Schmidt, Washburn and his wife Audrey, a longtime employee in the transportation department, and Los Alamos Middle School principal Rex Kilburn.
    For Katzenmeyer-Delgado, she comes to Los Alamos from just down the Hill at Pojoaque. There, she had previously served as building principal, district office administrator and assistant superintendent.
    Her background, according to LAPS, includes working with community members and tribal leaders “that represent a broad range of multicultural communities.”
    Recently, Katzenmeyer-Delgado graduated from the Aspiring Superintendents’ Academy professional development program.

  • Abeyta: Class of 2015 is 'caring,' 'motivated'

    On Saturday morning, the 200-plus graduates that made up Los Alamos High School’s senior class of 2014-15 gathered together in the gym one last time before making that big step toward moving on to bigger challenges and places unknown.
    Guest speakers that included honors graduate Esteban Abeyta, teacher Michelle Holland and LAHS Principal Deborah Belew-Nyquist spoke to the graduates about the challenges that lay ahead for them, as well as the memories and highlights of their four years together at the school.
    Abeyta, who was also the class president for the 2014-15 school year, began by asking his fellow graduates to remember the three, late graduates they had lost along the way.
    “We were blessed to have these wonderful friends, brilliant classmates, these genuinely great individuals in our presence as we grew up here in Los Alamos,” said Abeyta, adding that everyone would do well to remember their “positive energy and their wonderful smiles.”
    On behalf of his graduating class, Abeyta also thanked the teachers and mentors that brought them to this point, adding that it was now up to he and the rest of his classmates to use the lessons they’ve learned and the knowledge they’ve gained to give back.

  • Hawk To Hilltopper

    Los Alamos Middle School may have said their current batch of eighth graders can move on to become Hilltoppers, but it is Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation that makes the crossover official.
    On Friday afternoon, the Class of 2019 we’re anointed with the annual Hawk to Hilltopper graduation party at Urban Park.
    The festivities included a barbeque, bouncy inflatables from Tons of Fun plus the traditional shaving cream extravaganza and hose down from the Los Alamos County Fire Department.
    Master of Ceremonies, Brendan Tuning of Los Alamos County, filled the time with music, volleyball, wall ball and time for the relaxation students needed as the year came to an end.
    The weather held off long enough to squeeze in three hours of inflated fun to decompress a school year filled with enough testing to ensure a smooth transition to high school.
    The event was sponsored by Daniel’s Café and Mary’s Gelato, Coca-Cola Bottling, Tons of Fun, the fire department and Parks and Recreation.
    Tuning and his posse, along with a myriad of community volunteers and programs, moved from the Hawk to Hilltopper event into preparations for Senior Appreciation Night, also coordinated by Tuning, which took place Saturday evening as the Class of 2015 became alumni.

  • Hats Off!

    The newest graduating class of Los Alamos High School tosses its hats into the air to cap off four years of hard work. This year’s ceremony was held Saturday at Griffith Gymnasium. The ceremony was followed Saturday evening by the Senior Appreciation Night event at several spots around Los Alamos County.

  • LAPS says goodbye to LAMS' Kilburn

    When the group of people you work with and for give you a standing ovation for your efforts, you know your time is well spent.
    On Wednesday afternoon a big crowd of parents, students, staff and community members came together to celebrate the efforts of Los Alamos Principal Rex Kilburn and LAMS Registrar Dawn Kilburn, as they end their time with Los Alamos Public Schools.
    Rex Kilburn who has spent 27 years in education, 11 of those in Los Alamos, will be returning to Kotzebue, Alaska, to work for a few more years before formally retiring.
    LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus, Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn and LAMS Assistant Principal Anna Vargas-Gutierrez all spoke fondly of Kilburn as tears filled the eyes of both friends and family.
    “Rex is also genuinely concerned about the well being of all his students and always wanting the best for his staff, students and the community,” said former staff member Claire Swinhoe. “He has a positive, caring approach that is rare in today’s world.”
    Wednesday’s celebration took place in Kelly Hall at the Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church, where Eskimo Pies and even a Baked Alaska made by parent Rachel Allen were served to the Kilburns’ well-wishers.

  • No big bump in tech grads within state

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s major universities may not be turning out graduates in science and mathematics at a rate fast enough for employers in those fields, according to recent data.
    Both the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University gave fewer degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as STEM subjects — than in liberal arts last fall. Records showed 25 percent of the more than 3,700 bachelor’s degrees UNM conferred in fall 2014 were for STEM, the Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday. It’s reported 28 percent of NMSU’s 1,300 graduates earned STEM degrees around the same time.
    New Mexico employers in science, technology and other related industries say finding qualified workers is a struggle. At the Albuquerque Economic Forum earlier this month, Sandia National Laboratories Director Paul Hommert spoke of his company’s difficulties.
    “Finding STEM-qualified employees — given our hiring requirements — is a challenge,” he said. “It’s a challenge locally and nationally, although we’re pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve in New Mexico.”

  • Johnson will lead LAMS next year

    Los Alamos Public Schools announced last week that Mike Johnson will take over as the principal of Los Alamos Middle School next year.
    Johnson, who has been an assistant principal at Los Alamos High School, will take over for current principal Rex Kilburn, who is moving from the area.
    Johnson has been in school administration for nine years. LAPS credits him with his role in establishing and implementing the Los Alamos Early College and Career Academy, which is designed to create new and opportunities for students to further themselves following high school.
    According to LAPS, Johnson’s first focus areas will include master schedule, staffing and enrollment, opportunities for continuous improvement and professional development for staff.
    Kilburn has been with LAPS for 11 years, serving as LAMS principal for six of those years.
    He will be honored in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. Ceremony time is 4 p.m.
    Kilburn will be moving to Kiana, Alaska, following the school year.