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Placer Hills superintendent Fred Adam to retire

He has spent 38 years in education; successor will be Steve Schaumleffel
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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In the fall, Fred Adam will do something he has has been unable to do in October.

“I will be in Yosemite; it’s my favorite place on Earth,” said the lifelong educator and Northern California native. “I’m look forwarding to being there in October; I hadn’t been able to do that before.”

Adam has served as superintendent of the Placer Hills Union School District for seven years, coming from Sonoma County to the local elementary district that includes Sierra Hills School in Meadow Vista, where he is also principal, and Weimar Hills School. He will retire as of June 30.

“I’ve been an educator for 38 years … this seemed the best time,” said Adam, 62.

Current district administrators in addition to Adam are Steve Schaumleffel, Weimar Hills principal; Marge Sigenfuse, vice principal at Weimar Hills; Ken Kolster, special education coordinator/psychologist for the district; and business manager Nancy Mosier. According to Adam, the PHUSD board realized some time ago that they would need to reduce the five-member administrative team by one full ttime position beginning in the 2013-14 school year. Adam said the move has the potential of saving the district about $100,000.

“As I had been looking at my own plans, it jived nicely to do this at this particular time,” he said.

The board has named Schaumleffel as the new superintendent; he will also serve as principal at one of the school sites yet to be determined. The other principal will add special ed coordinator duties. Adam said Kolster is one of the applicants for the position, for which the board has advertised and hopes to fill by the end of April. Sigenfuse and Mosier will continue in their positions, with added duties; and psychologist services will be provided on a contract basis.

Schaumleffel said he has worked with Adam for seven years. He will be sorely missed and leaves “big shoes to fill,” he said of Adam.

“He’s been a great boss … easy to work for,” Schaumleffel said. The district, he said, is in “as good a place as possible given the financial circumstances in the state. It’s been so hard to keep pace.”

Even though the district faces $1 million in cuts, “I think we’re going to weather the storm and continue most of the programs that are important for the children,” Schaumleffel said. “We’re going to have to cut teachers and raise class sizes. We anticipate (cutting) eight teacher positions in the whole district,” from 45 to 37. On March 15, the district issued pink slips to 18 certificated positions, which includes teachers and administrators, in order to meet state guidelines.

Mosier, the district’s business manager, said the district’s budget for the current school year is $7.8 million and is looking at figures about $6.8 million for the 2013-14 school year. The district will know the projected funding in May, but will not receive final figures until legislators adopt the state budget in the summer.

“We will be adopting the budget at our June 20 meeting,” Mosier said.

“This has been a wonderful place for me to end my career. The community is so involved with kids; the staff has such a high commitment to our kids, K-8, I’ve worked in so many different places,” Adam said. “I make a point to tell people how special kids and the community support are. It’s just been a wonderful place to work; it was a hard decision to decide to retire. … This gives an opportunity for new faces, new ideas to come forward.”

Adam said he appreciated the board’s support in his goals of having strong programs, not just academically, but strong in the performing arts, athletics, the physical education program, technology, and the library.

“What I’m most proud of is we’ve been able to give the students a really incredible education. Our kids as they leave our district are generally very successful, not just a students, but as people. That to me is a district accomplishment by staff, families, the kids. That’s why I’m so satisfied – in the last seven years, we did good work, all of us together.”

Adam and his wife, Janet, are in the process of purchasing a small travel trailer, with the “goal of wandering all over the country.” He said they’ll also spend “lots” of time with his two daughters and their families, which as of this month includes five grandchildren. “That’s where I’m going to spend a lot of retirement time, is with the grandkids,” said the proud grandfather.