Los Alamos Public Schools Board Sec. Christine Bernstein. Photo Courtesy LAPS
LAPS NEWS RELEASE
Christine Bernstein marked the start of her fourth year this month representing District 3 on the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Board.
Bernstein was elected Board Secretary at the Jan. 10 board meeting. She also is a board representative on the Budget, Finance and Audit committee, LAC/LAPS/UNMLA Executive Leadership, Facilities Master Plan Work Group, Project Steering Committee for North Mesa, Calendar committee, Superintendent Evaluation committee and the Strategic Plan committee.
Bernstein is originally from California. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach, with a degree in Spanish Language and Linguistics, and continued on at CSU Dominguez Hills in education to earn a teaching license while simultaneously teaching in her first teaching position at Centennial High School in Compton, Calif.
“I taught for about 25 years in various schools in Southern and Northern California, Maine, South Dakota, Los Alamos and Pojoaque,” she said.
Bernstein is not teaching in the classroom teaching: “I am working in hospitality and doing a lot of thinking. I also enjoy painting and writing when I have free time, which seems to be alluding me lately.”
Her decision to run for the School Board was a long time in the making.
“About 12-15 years ago, while in Professional Development at LAHS, I started thinking,” she said. “I was frustrated with the Professional Development we were receiving, and I realized that people that never set foot in my classroom or truly knew what I do as a teacher were making decisions about my profession. I realized that educators are seldom active participants in decisions that can directly impact their profession. I decided then that if I ever had the opportunity to run for school board, then I would. I left New Mexico for three years. When I returned, I took a position at Pojoaque High School, and a seat opened up in Los Alamos … so I ran.”
Bernstein sees the top three focus areas for the School Board over the next few years to be:
- Student Well-Being and making school meaningful for 100 percent of students;
- Giving student and teacher voice a top priority in strategic planning and change; and
- Facility strategic planning.
“We need to consider what to do with our land and leased facilities that will best serve the educational community,” she explained.
Bernstein noted that the School Board has faced some challenges in the past, including navigating decisions around COVID, and, most recently, trying to understand and mitigate the problem of racism, bullying, the mental health of our kids, and the overall well-being of all stakeholders.
“As for accomplishments, we continue to look for ways to keep our kids safe and healthy,” she said. “We are finally taking action to dive into the strategic plan more meaningfully and develop a path forward for the district with a focus on Student Well-Being. Honestly, I feel that this community is ready for a deep dive conversation to bring a new depth of understanding as to what certain things mean to us – Thrive, Well-Being, Success, and Life-Long Learning are some examples.”
Bernstein added that, “The board is only a single entity to make decisions for some. We are a group of public servants chosen by our constituents to represent them and their best interests. One of the hardest parts is trying to find the balance since we have seen, at times, a very divided community. I suspect that if we were to come together as a community, we could discover how much we really all want what is best for our kids. Everyone needs a voice, and surveys do not always provide that deeper voice I want to hear.”
In her spare time, Bernstein said she enjoys painting and writing, and being outside, observing nature and “this beautiful place we live in. I enjoy mountain biking and getting out on the trails, and occasionally rock climbing.”