Steve Carlsen to lead Box Elder schools starting July 1

Monday , June 19, 2017 - 5:00 AM

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

BRIGHAM CITY — It was during his time as a student at Brigham Young University when Steve Carlsen decided he wanted to pursue teaching.

“I loved my educational experience and just wanted to make a career out of it,” he said.

Carlsen was chosen as the next Box Elder School District superintendent by the Board of Education at a May meeting from four finalists. He is taking over for Ron Tolman, who is retiring after leading the district for three years.

Carlsen will make $132,000 annually, according to his signed two-year contract. He will also receive a $6,000 annual travel reimbursement, paid equally over 12 months.

RELATED: Carbon School District superintendent tapped to lead Box Elder School District

A self-proclaimed jock in high school, Carlsen has since become a supporter of the arts. He considers his biggest accomplishment the regeneration of the theater and band program in Utah’s Carbon School District.

Carbon High School Principal Bruce Bean said Carlsen supported his teachers when they needed money for theater equipment and went to the school board to request marching band uniforms.

“He was good about getting community people in, sitting down and saying ‘What would you guys like to see?’” Bean said.

Carlsen has personally taken an interest in music as well. At age 32, he picked up a guitar and started learning how to play.

He’s now a member of the Superintendents of Rock, which is made up of Scott Crane, the executive director of Southeast Education Service Center, Toole School District Superintendent Scott Rogers and Tintic School District Superintendent Kodey Hughes.

“It’s a great stress reliever and a ton of fun,” Carlsen said.

Carlsen is originally from Idaho and attended BYU on a football scholarship, he said.

He has been a superintendent for Carbon since 2011, and prior to that was the North Summit School District superintendent in Coalville, Utah.

Karlene Bianco, the principal of Lighthouse High School in the Carbon School District, said in an email Carlsen was an excellent superintendent.

“He was equally supportive of all school programs and would do anything to help programs succeed,” she said.

With more than 11,000 students enrolled, the Box Elder School District is larger than the last two districts Carlsen has worked with. He hopes that means he won’t have to wear as many hats so he can focus on larger issues like teacher recruitment and retention.

“We’ve got to try and get a little bit more money — a lot more money — into the system to first, encourage people to go into teaching and second of all keep them in there once they’re there,” he said.

After the last two leaders retired after three and four years with the district, 59-year-old Carlsen said he plans on sticking around for at least six years, ideally eight.

Brigham City is central to where all of his six children live, meaning he and his wife Grace will be able to spend more time with their 14 grandchildren. The couple plan to buy a home in Brigham City.

“This is the perfect scenario,” Carlsen said. “It’s perfect for my family and it’s a huge career move.”

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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