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Back To School In Long Beach, Where The Superintendent Has Lasted Longer Than Your K-12 Career

A dozen years ago on a Saturday morning, a father in Long Beach dropped off his son to take a qualifying test for an AP history class. When the teen got in and the dad later visited the class at Wilson Classical High School, he noticed something odd: Most of the students were white—even though 70% of the school was not.

The father happened to be Chris Steinhauser, back then in his second year as superintendent of Long Beach schools. And so he decided to open up almost all Advanced Placement classes: no more weekend entrance exams, no more qualifying grades.

Today, as Long Beach’s 79,000 students head back to school, Steinhauser is entering his 14th year as superintendent. He is at the helm of a district that began seeing major improvements two decades ago. Steinhauser has held the district steady, and led improvement in areas like AP enrollment and college preparation.