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Salt River Schools Superintendent Dr. Louis Laffitte

New Salt River Schools Superintendent Has High Expectations for District

The New Salt River Schools superintendent, Dr. Louis Laffitte, brings plenty of experience to the school district and has high expectations heading into year one.

Laffitte, 44, started working for the district on June 20. It’s his first job as the top administrator of a school district.

School started on Aug. 8. The district has about 1,000 students in pre-K through 12th grade and about 380 staff members.

“It’s been nonstop, but it’s been great though,” Laffitte said. “I’m excited to be here. I truly believe we have a great opportunity for our students to be successful.”

Laffitte comes from the Maricopa County Regional School District in Phoenix, where he was the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. He has spent the last 15 years in metro Phoenix working in education.

Laffitte is from Inglewood, Calif., and he moved to Tucson in 1990 to attend the University of Arizona. He has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education, with a focus on emotional behavior disorders. He also has a doctorate in educational leadership, administration and policy from Pepperdine University.

Au-Authm Action News interviewed Dr. Laffitte about his transition to Salt River Schools and his goals for our students.

Q: How has the transition gone?

A: [I’ve attended] a lot of meetings. I’m trying to get an understanding of the various players within the organization, their roles and what they provide and bring to the organization. I’m looking at what the strengths and weaknesses are as an organization so that we can maintain [some] things, but adjust those things that we are having challenges with.

Q: What is it about Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Schools that attracted you?

A: To me, it’s about the community, so understanding that it was a small, close, tight-knit community that was really progressive in terms of educational goals for children [attracted me, along with] the business ventures, a lot of those pieces. So looking at that, [I thought] this could be a good opportunity to help and support and guide the Education Division.

Q: What are your educational goals?

A: Our focus is on student achievement. That’s always the primary goal, to ensure our students are achieving at a high level [and] to ensure that they have a competitive education that’s comparable to any other schools or districts, not just [in] the state, but the country as well.

Q: How do you hope to accomplish your goals?

A: [By] analyzing our instruction and really paying attention to those details. What does our student data look like? What are we doing? It hinges off four questions: What is it that we want our kids to know and be able to do? Once we identify that, we then [ask] how we know if they learned it. We identify the standards, than we identify how we assess that. Then if the students haven’t learned those skill sets that we think they need to learn, or those standards, we have to put strategies in place to support that. [And] if they have learned it, what [can] we do to extend their learning?

Q: How do you plan to make Salt River schools more attractive so that Community members will attend Community schools?

A: We have more students that go to schools outside of our Community than within. So my goal is to improve the quality of education so that parents truly believe and know that their students can come to any Salt River school and have a quality education. Our grade needs to be comparable with everyone else’s, so that means our expectations need to be high and we need to work and strive to support all of our students and meet those high levels of achievement.