Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Secretary, NM Public Education Dept

Air Dates: November 5-7, 2022

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Secretary, NM Public Education Department, discussing current issues in education in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Education and Secretary Steinhaus have been facing two huge developments and challenges – the vast amounts of paperwork required of teachers and administrators, and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Steinhaus and the Education Department reduced paperwork for teachers by 41%, and reduced administrative paperwork by 34%. Also, the department has risen to the challenge of the pandemic by analyzing pandemic-specific impacts on learning, and creating “Extended Learning Time Programs,” and offering more mental health and anxiety treatment programs for schools, students, and staff.

Dr. Steinhaus has formulated an “Entry and Learning Plan” for the pandemic circumstances New Mexico education faces. Steinhaus asserts, “This transition presents an opportunity for positive enhancements in our schools; (as well as ) for the state's instructional leader and chief executive officer to work closely with school leaders and community toward success for all.”

One of the long-term effects of the pandemic to in-person learning, was to increase the number of students partaking in home schooling, which doubled from 8,800 students pre-pandemic to16,000 students in 2021 as the pandemic was in full swing.

Kurt Steinhaus was born in Los Alamos, NM, and has dedicated his career to education and advocating for the diverse population of New Mexico students, most recently as superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools. His Bachelor's degree is in music education. Steinhaus holds master’s degrees from the University of Oregon, in science, and Eastern New Mexico University, in music, as well as a doctorate of education from the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he produced a dissertation on “Educational Leadership and Organizational Training.”