Christopher J. Steinhauser served as superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District from 2002 to 2020; the fourth largest school district in California serving approximately 70,000 students. With more than 39 years of experience in the diverse Long Beach school system, Chris has earned a national reputation for improving student achievement and closing achievement and opportunity gaps. To ensure that there were equitable outcomes for all students in the school system, Chris implemented a continuous improvement process known as The Collaborative Inquiry Process/Quarterly Visits where teams of educators from different schools would visit each other’s sites to review student outcome data and observe teaching and learning. The purpose of this process was to make real-time changes based on formative assessment data to better meet the diverse academic and social/emotional needs of the students in the system. These site visits would occur three to four times per year. Under his leadership, Long Beach earned the national Broad Prize for Urban Education and qualified as a finalist for the award five times. In a 2010 report by McKinsey & Company named Long Beach as one of the world's 20 leading school systems -- and one of the top three in the United States in terms of sustained and significant improvements. The school district was later listed among the world's top five school systems by the nonprofit Battelle for Kids organization.
Long Beach students, 70 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunches, annually earn more than $100 million in college scholarships. Thirteen Long Beach high schools were named in 2020 to be among the top 12 percent in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. Under Chris’s leadership, the Long Beach College Promise was developed which became a model for the State of California and the nation on providing two years of free college to every student that enrolled in a community college upon graduating from high school. Since the implementation of the Long Beach College Promise, the college going rate for students in the Long Beach USD has been consistently higher than the State of California and the nation. To ensure that all students were college and career ready upon graduation from high school, Chris implemented industry based pathways system-wide through the Linked Learning approach to ensure equitable outcomes for all high school students.