New superintendent looks forward to job challenges
After an uncertain year in 2010-2011, which saw the Carbon School District bring back retired Superintendent Patsy Bueno temporarily amid allegations against administrative hire George Park, local educators and students alike are ready for established leadership from the district's top spot. Recently hired Superintendent Steve Carlsen has taken that position and reports a bright future for education in Carbon County.
"I think leadership in education in a major challenge, one I enjoy undertaking," said Carlsen from his newly decorated office this summer. "Kids in high school have their whole life ahead of them, it's an exciting time and to have the opportunity to influence them at that point in their journey is an amazing privilege."
For Carlsen, leadership began on the football field, where he finished his playing career as a full-back for Brigham Young University.
"You know I was in on the winning play of the Miracle Bowl," said Carlsen with a smile. "What everyone remembers is McMahon's Hail-Mary but that touchdown only tied the game. I was the up-back on the extra-point and that's the play that won the game."
Following his days on the field, Carlsen went after what he called a "football coaching dream," for 10 years while teaching in Idaho. After gaining his administrative degree during his 11th year of teach first school leadership job as the principal at Bear Lake High School.
"I really enjoyed my time as a principal," said Carlsen. "There is a tremendous amount of reward in that work. You get to work with the kids one-on-one, see them grow. That becomes much more difficult to do as a superintendent."
According to the new Carbon administrator, working with troubled youth quickly became one of his favorite ventures as a principal, doing what he could to help students who were struggling to "right the ship."
"Some of my best memories in education come from working with a sophomore who is in trouble and then getting the chance to see him graduate, partly because of something you did," explained Carlsen.
The district administrator reported that after three great years of work as a high school principal, the opportunity to become North Summit's Superintendent presented itself and Carlsen made the jump.
While most in the Castle Valley think of this area as a small community, it will mean a sizable increase in student numbers for Carlsen, who ended up spending 10 years at North Summit's top spot. The North Summit District is comprised of only three schools and 1,000 total students.
"At Carbon the differences are obvious," said Carlsen while discussing his plans for local students. "This district has many more facilities and students, however I have found that students tend to all react very well to positive leadership and that is the main thing I hope to bring to this area."
On a more tangible scale, the superintendent discussed projects which will effect local education in the coming years.
"Because of some personnel issues in the last year, several facility and building projects were put on hold," he explained. "We are in the process of bringing those projects back up to speed. We are currently working very hard on a stable 10 and 25 year plan for the district.
Carlsen was direct however about needing to see how the Carbon District operates before making any major changes.
"Moving forward, my plan is to evaluate based on what I witness this school year," he concluded. "After that I will evaluate the specifics of what the district and the school board plan to accomplish. As the superintendent, I hope to make the local school system as successful and efficient as possible."