It is with great sadness that we now share our last farewell to Karl Steinkamp, whose legacy is deep and unforgettable here at Dalat.
In May 2022 the Dalat community bid farewell to our head of school Karl Steinkamp, as he moved back to the United States to step into God’s next assignment at New Life Academy in Minnesota. Little did we know at that time the arduous journey that was set before him as he was subsequently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Steinkamp fought valiantly over the past 14 months embracing his motto of “never ever give up,” testing every possible option to beat the disease that was overtaking his body.
On September 6, 2023 surrounded by his beloved family, he finished his race and slipped into the arms of Jesus entering his final rest.
So it is with great sadness that we now share our final farewell to Karl Steinkamp, whose legacy is deep and unforgettable here at Dalat.
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 then Head of School beginning in 2005.
Over the years, Mr. Steinkamp preserved the heritage and legacy of Dalat, while navigating necessary change. Dalat grew 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.
He was known as a gracious leader who admirably balanced the demands of leadership with loving his family well. His wife Jacki, and three adult children, Kassy, Josiah, and Mikaela, were his most treasured gifts, and they were at his bedside until the very end.
Citing the final words of the tribute written about Mr. Steinkamp before he left Dalat… “words cannot describe how much you will be missed. You are leaving a legacy at Dalat, and you will forever hold a special place in our hearts.”