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Missouri Association of Rural Education



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Rural District Administrator

Steve Carvajal

Mr. Steve Carvajal is currently the District Superintendent of the Salem R-80 School District. Energy … this is a contagious attribute that a leader must have.   This describes Mr. Steve Carvajal.  Steve exhibits this everyday by his work ethic and the fact that he never shys away from a task. This energy was shown this past Spring/Summer/Fall, when Mr. Carvajal spent 81 consecutive days working on the building project, painting, swinging a hammer, re-doing roofs, pushing a broom and supervising to make sure all was going according to plan.

Steve’s approach is putting the needs of students above everything else.  He has always taken a hands-on approach to any situation.  When he first started his job, he noticed several areas of the campus that needed some past due landscaping.  On multiple Saturdays, as people would drive by the high school campus, they would see Mr. Carvajal with his three young daughters pulling weeds and planting flowers.

Salem school district for many years had a good and probably adequate school district.  The question that needed answered was “When is good enough, not good enough?”  The district had decent test scores but most of the facilities were an embarrassment and in need of repair and expansion.  With Mr. Carvajal’s arrival, he was able to make some immediate changes and improvements in the district without spending any taxpayer money.  A new playground at the upper elementary, several new signs, including an electronic message board with the advertising money going to sponsor kids taking the ACT test.  The two elementary buildings were made more secure with electronic entrances, intercoms and security cameras.  The board chose Mr. Carvajal to lead the community awareness of a $4.5 million bond issue that passed with 65% support (which had failed 4 previous times).  With his support, the town of Salem was awarded the 2013 Missouri Community Betterment Association Grand Prize.  Other improvements included a true Middle School, expanded high school program, library expansion, new computer lab, new cafeterias, just to name a few.

With his passion for kids, teachers, clarity, direction and leadership makes Steve Carvajal  deserving of recognition as Missouri’s Outstanding Rural District Administrator for the 2014-2015 school year.