Today Long Beach Superintendent of Schools Christopher J. Steinhauser formally joins the California State University Board of Trustees, following his appointment to the role by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this month.

Steinhauser, who has served as superintendent for nearly two decades, is looking forward to bringing his experience, ideas and passion for education and student success to the 25-member board.

we have to ensure that higher education is affordable, achievable and that our students are able to graduate in the right amount of time. that is very important to me."  -- Christopher J. Steinhauser, trustee of the California State university

This is far from Steinhauser's first experience with the CSU, though. The California State University, Long Beach alumnus was the first in his family to earn a college degree, an accomplishment he shares with many CSU graduates. As an educator, he has also long partnered with the CSU to better prepare students from the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) for college.

We spoke with the veteran educator about his new role on the CSU Board of Trustees, the unique perspective he believes he'll bring to the group, and the impact the CSU has had on his own life.

 

Calstate.edu: As the Long Beach Unified School District's Superintendent of Schools, what do you see as your role on the CSU Board of Trustees?

Steinhauser: "As a K-12 superintendent, I think I bring a pretty unique perspective on what our young people need... Our goal at LBUSD is to get our students to college… My goal as superintendent is to prepare our young people for what's next.

I am very proud of the partnership we have in place with the CSU. I am taking direct feedback from the university about what our kids need in order to be successful. Because of our partnership, I have been able to restructure the district's math requirements so that we now require four years of mathematics for all kids."


Calstate.edu: As a CSU alumnus, how has the university influenced your life?

Steinhauser: "Sometimes when I drive past CSU Long Beach, I think of the days my dad used to pile us all up into the station wagon. We would drive by the campus and he would say to us, 'That's where you're going to go to school.' I didn't think much of it then, but he ended up being right."

If it weren't for the CSU, I wouldn't be sitting as superintendent today.

When you have been given so many opportunities and support, you want to give back to others so that they may have the same opportunities. I want to help others see the impact they, too, can have on their communities.

I love being able to give back to the community that gave so much to me."

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Christopher J. Steinhauser  


Calstate.edu: What do you see as the role of the CSU in California?

Steinhauser: "I am the Long Beach Superintendent of Schools, but first I was a CSU student myself. My wife, a retired teacher, and our two children — both of whom are teachers in the LBUSD district — are also CSU alumni. We have seen firsthand the power of the CSU and taken advantage of everything it has offered us.

My wife and I were the first in our families to get college degrees; we come from very humble backgrounds. The CSU, for us, was the key to social mobility. We've seen it and lived it. I've seen our students go through it, and I've seen my own kids go through it. It's pretty fascinating.

I truly believe in the power of education; it is the economic engine of this country. Once you have a great education, no one can take that away from you.

The CSU is critical to California for a number of reasons, one being that it provides the vast majority of teachers in the state. My family alone is a great example of that.

I believe the CSU exists not only to provide a great education, but to be that positive influence in changing communities. I am reminded every day that there are so many kids out there who have it so much harder than I ever did growing up. It is my responsibility to break down those barriers so they can achieve their dreams, just as I have."

 

Calstate.edu: The CSU is in the process of revamping its developmental education policies to improve student success — part of Graduation Initiative 2025. What do you think of these changes?

Steinhauser: "I am very supportive. I want to help higher education professionals and K-12 educators see the benefits of working closely on this initiative.  

If we can get students out of college in four years, that is a huge positive economic power for everyone involved. I think this initiative is very exciting and I look forward to working with my colleagues and peers on improving student success for all.

I have seen firsthand what can happen when people collaborate to bring about positive change. It is my hope that I can add some value to the already outstanding group of trustees. We must ensure that higher education is affordable, achievable and that our students are able to graduate in the right amount of time. The way to do this is to ensure we have a strong focus on our students and the support needed is there for them. That is very important to me."


Calstate.edu: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Steinhauser: "My family is my number one. I talk to my kids — well, they're not kids anymore, they're 29 and 31 — every day. Every Sunday we have family dinners.

And I love the SoCal outdoor scene. I try to get outside as much as I can and try to walk at least 20 miles every week."


Learn more about the CSU Board of Trustees and Gov. Brown's recent appointees to the board.