The final days of the 2021-2022 school year are here, and it is time to say farewell to an extremely important person in our community, Mr. Karl Steinkamp. His time at Dalat started as an elementary student, then he moved away before returning in Grade 12. He returned as a volunteer during college, then as a student teacher, a classroom instructor, and a coach. Returning for a sixth time in 2001, he came to serve first as principal. And now, we say goodbye to our Head of School since 2005.
Mr. Steinkamp is known as a gracious leader who admirably balances the demands of Head of School and still loves his family well. All three of his kids (all in their twenties) graduated from Dalat, and have returned to Penang during the recent months to say their goodbyes to this place they call home.
Over the years, Mr. Steinkamp has preserved the heritage and legacy of Dalat, while navigating necessary change. Dalat has grown from a small missionary school of 200 students, to a larger international school of almost 700 students. Campus development projects – such as the roof over the outdoor basketball court, the gym renovation, the second half middle school building, the lower elementary conversion from dorms to classrooms, upper elementary classroom creation, construction of the CASTLE, the new dorms, Harbor classrooms and administrative offices, the Galley and Sandycroft, new elementary and middle school playgrounds and slides, and the beginnings of new middle school building – happened under his leadership. He also facilitated governance at Dalat, from a structure where a board governed day-to-day operations, to a structure where staff provide leadership while the board provides mission and vision oversight.
Mr. Steinkamp did more than “stand at the helm.” He is affectionately known as Uncle Karl because of his deep investment in individual student lives. He was a Junior-Senior Class Sponsor for 14 years, chaired Boy Scout Troop 222 for 15 years, coached approximately 28 athletic teams, coached middle school’s D-League, was instrumental in starting the Asian Christian Schools Conference (ACSC) sports league, and taught 10 different courses during his tenure.
Mr. Steinkamp, words cannot describe how much you will be missed. You are leaving a legacy at Dalat, and you and will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you for your service to Dalat International School.