LPS Superintendent Joel plans to retire at end of school year

Dr Steve Joel


LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)– Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year. The district said Joel will officially announce his retirement to the school board on Tuesday nights meeting.

He described it as a bittersweet decision to retire after eleven years of service to LPS, but he felt now was the right time for not only him and his family, but also the district as a whole.

Joel said this is a decision he does not take lightly. “Being able to finish my 37-year career as a superintendent in Lincoln is a dream come true,” Joel said. “Not only is LPS nationally recognized for its work, but also offers a supportive school board and Lincoln community that have proven time and again they are willing to roll up their sleeves and support our staff, students and families.”

Joel went on to say that while the pandemic has created new challenges, he feels the school district continues to make great progress and announcing his plans now allows the school board time to open a national comprehensive search and recruit a quality candidate.

“LPS is widely respected and thought of in national administration circles and I have no doubt there will be quality candidates showing interest in the position.”

The Board of Education will vote on accepting Joel’s retirement as part of the consent agenda Tuesday night. Next steps will include selecting a superintendent search firm, and setting the timeline for applications and interviews – a process that can take five to eight months.

“Over the past eleven years, Dr. Joel has demonstrated his expertise and passion for public education and put it to work for all children in Lincoln Public Schools,” said Board President Connie Duncan. “Under his leadership, our school district overcame challenges big and small while continuing to build stronger relationships with our staff, families and community partners.”

Joel joined LPS in 2010 after serving as the superintendent for Grand Island Public Schools for 10 years. Joel’s first challenge at LPS came within his first year when a tragic fire resulted in a complete loss of the LPS District Office in 2011. During his time as superintendent, he has focused on comprehensive solutions to significant school and community issues. LPS has faced booming enrollment, adding approximately 5,700 students in the last 10 years, and passed two bond referendums to build new schools and renovate existing buildings while increasing school security measures and the technology infrastructure.

Through Joel’s leadership, LPS has also adopted a comprehensive instructional technology plan and developed The Career Academy, along with announcing the addition of three new focus programs opening in the next two years.

Joel has been honored with a wide variety of awards and distinctions, including Nebraska Superintendent of the Year and Leadership Excellence by the Educational Resource Development Institute. He also has been active in many community clubs and coalitions and serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln Community Foundation, The Career Academy and the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County Board.

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