Dr. Neal Schnoor and his wife, Teresa, had not been in Long Beach long before they had the quintessential California experience: an earthquake.
The two sizeable shakers over the July 4th weekend were different than the tornados and blizzards they experienced on the Great Plains, but the Schnoors chalked up the temblors as “another new experience.”
New experiences are a big part of what drives Schnoor, President Jane Close Conoley’s recently appointed chief of staff at Cal State Long Beach. A noted music educator whose career has spanned teaching, conducting and administrative duties, he said that constant change is a driving force in his professional and personal life.
“Life unfolds as it should and every day is an adventure,” Schnoor said. “As chief of staff, I honestly don’t know exactly what is going to unfold in the course of a day – and I embrace that. It’s exciting.”
For many people in similar positions, it’s the ability to handle – some say, juggle – the unpredictable demands of a campus that determine a chief of staff’s success.
“As chief of staff, my first focus remains the same as when I began my teaching career, providing transformational learning experiences to students. That has to be what drives all of us.”
Schnoor sees his role as helping the President, administration, faculty, staff and students achieve Cal State Long Beach’s mission. “Sometimes that involves advising on vital policy matters, working with key stakeholder groups on and beyond campus, asking and dealing with tough questions, forming positive relationships and stronger connections, and seeking innovative solutions," he said.
President Conoley said Schnoor is a proven leader in the educational field.
“His record as a respected leader, educator, dean and senior advisor to the chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney speaks volumes,” she said. “I look forward to Neal bringing to bear his many talents and skills to the opportunities ahead of us.”
In addition to conducting, directing and teaching, Schnoor is a percussionist who said that despite the demands of his job, music “absolutely” continues to be a part of his life. He said he enjoys attending concerts performed by the most renowned orchestras in America, but is a fan of all genres and any opportunity to hear music performed live. Now that he is in Southern California, he’s “especially looking forward to hearing the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel.”
Schnoor comes to Cal State Long Beach from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he served as senior advisor to the Chancellor for Executive Affairs. Before that, he had been a member of that university’s faculty for 13 years, holding joint tenure in its College of Fine Arts and Humanities and its College of Education. It was during this time that he served as the director of bands, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music and education. Previously, Schnoor had been dean of Wayne State College’s School of Education and Counseling. He succeeds Dr. Karen Nakai, now serving as CSU Chancellor Timothy White’s chief of staff, and Dr. Mark Wiley, who followed her on an interim basis.