May 24, 2002
California's third largest school district has identified its next superintendent. Christopher Steinhauser, a Long Beach resident and 20-year veteran who is respected for improving student achievement, Tuesday received repeated applause, a standing ovation and the unanimous vote of the Board of Education of the Long Beach Unified School District. At its regular meeting, the school board announced its top choice.
Steinhauser is known as a hands-on leader who helps students to reach high expectations here in the most diverse large city in the U.S.
At 43, he is one of the youngest large urban school district superintendents in the nation. His term is scheduled to begin this fall as part of a multiple-year contract now being worked out.
Steinhauser has a solid track record of boosting achievement in all geographic areas of the school district where he has served -- central, west, north and east Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill. As Area C superintendent he was also responsible for Hi-Hill Outdoor School and schools on Catalina Island.
"His success in all parts of the school district is a real advantage," said Board of Education President Bobbie Smith. "He knows the community, and he is respected for his positive hands-on approach that gets results for students of all backgrounds.
"He enlists school staff and the community in helping students excel," she said.
Steinhauser began his career as a teacher at Roosevelt, then became Muir's program facilitator in charge of Chapter I, School Improve-ment and EIA-LEP plans. After serving as vice principal of Burnett, he was promoted to principal of Signal Hill and coordinator of year-round schools. Known for his success in early intervention strategies, he implemented a Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant that provided comprehensive staff development to improve math and science instruction.
He was promoted to director of Special Projects, responsible for all state and federal categorical programs in the district, then was selected as Area C superintendent serving schools in east Long Beach and Lakewood.
He has served as deputy superintendent since 1999 and has been instrumental in boosting academic achievement throughout the district, especially in underachieving schools.
To meet and exceed state academic improvement targets, students in all major racial and ethnic groups must make substantial gains. The schools under his supervision have done precisely that. On his watch as deputy superintendent, first graders went from scoring in the bottom third on reading to scoring in the top third on nationally normed tests.
"We are committed to the children of this school system," said Steinhauser. "I will not allow anyone, or any system, politicians or any force to derail us from what we're here to do, and that is to educate all children.
"We have an excellent system. Yes, we can be better, but we're going to be the finest school system. We will be the best urban school system with the best passing rate on the California (high school) exit exam.
"We will provide the right interventions for our students. We will build neighborhood schools . . . I'm here for everyone, and I thank everyone."
The Long Beach Unified School District is known for its stability of leadership. The average length of service for large urban school district superintendents in the U.S. is only three years. Here, superintendents average eight years of service in the top job. Superintendent Carl A. Cohn is completing his 10th and final year this summer.
Cohn will join the faculty at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education this fall to help to train the next generation of school superintendents.