LAPS Introduces New Mountain Elementary School Principal Dr. Brian Gass

Dr. Grass (1)Los Alamos Public Schools have announced the appointment of Dr. Brian Gass as principal of Mountain Elementary School. Photo Courtesy LAPS


Mountain Elementary School’s new principal has hit the ground running as he not only acclimates himself to a new school and staff, but also adapts to a new way of delivering school as Los Alamos Public Schools prepares for remote learning. Dr. Brian Grass officially started on July 16th, but has been participating in planning discussions since early June.

Mountain parents and students will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Grass during a virtual meet and greet on Tuesday August 4

In a recent interview, Dr. Grass provided some insight on his first impressions of the school district and the community.

What brought you to Los Alamos?

My husband and I recently built a house in Santa Fe. This will be where we eventually retire. I have been an Elementary Principal in Los Angeles for the past 12 years, and I hope to bring my experience and ingenuity to the students of Los Alamos. 

What is your background?

I have a science background. I majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and minored in Calculus and Physics at the University of Arizona. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my Law degree and fell into teaching. I was hooked. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Teaching and learning are an all-consuming passion for me now. I recently received my doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California, and I truly believe in life-long learning. 

What are some of your hobbies?

I am an avid hiker and runner. I love to renovate houses as well as design and maintain landscapes. Gardening is a pet project, especially school gardens. I am an avid reader, and admit to a bit of a science fiction addiction. I adhere to a work-life balance, and look to each new day as an adventure to experience. I agree with Mark Twain, when he said “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”  I will never stop exploring this world and learning from people. 

What are your impressions so far? 

Los Alamos is a close knit, peaceful mountain town. The people have been warm and welcoming. This seems like a wonderful place to raise children and enjoy an appropriate pace to life.

How do you describe your leadership style? 

I believe in service leadership. I think the only way to get the most out of people is to work alongside them; and to help support them in whatever way will benefit kids most. My philosophy is that our kids only get one childhood in this life, and every child deserves to feel cared for and seen, every day. 

What changes will you make at Mountain based upon your experiences? 

This school is a champion. I wouldn’t change a thing. My goal at Mountain is to help polish an already shining school.

What message can you share with parents and students as we figure out this new school year? 

This is not an ideal situation, however I remain positive that this new school year will be one of Mountain’s best ever. It is in times of crisis that students and adults show up at their very best. I am confident that Mountain families will weather this storm, and emerge stronger and more united than ever before.

What message can you share with staff as we start this new school year? 

We work with children. This is our calling. The magic of teaching is that we adapt and overcome. As children grow and change, we must constantly allow for and feed that change. We will not only overcome this current adversity, we will grow from it. I am here to support you and help us all become stronger instructional professionals.

How will you incorporate the district’s Thrive goal as Mountain Elementary principal? 

I believe that one of the reasons that I was hired at Mountain, is that I personify the district’s THRIVE goal. This philosophy of the whole child, not only improving, but thriving, is evident in my daily routines and procedures. I am excited to work with Dr. Steinhaus and his talented team. I believe that this is going to be an advantageous partnership.