Simms expected to take Mercer Island, Wash. position

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— Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Cyndy Simms announced her resignation this morning. She has agreed to become the superintendent of the Mercer Island, Wash., School District.

Mercer Island is a wealthy, upper-class area located just minutes from Seattle. With almost 4,200 students, the Mercer Island School District is approximately double the size of the Steamboat Springs School District.

"This one was just too good to pass up," Simms said. "It's been a lot of soul searching; I've been in Steamboat a long time. It's a really wonderful opportunity."

Simms will finish the school year in Steamboat Springs. Her resignation is effective July 1.

Simms received a phone call about a month ago from a national search firm hired by the Mercer Island School District. She applied for the position, completed the interview process, and was told Monday she would be offered the position. The Mercer Island School District Board of Education will take action on Simms' new contract at its board meeting tonight, Simms said.

As superintendent of the Mercer Island School District, Simms will earn $147,000. Her current salary pays approximately $104,000, but through a tax shelter arrangement, her actually salary nears $115,000, Simms said.

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education likely will hire a search firm to help find a replacement for Simms, according to a statement from the board. The issue will be discussed at next week's school board meeting.

"The board would like to extend its deepest thanks and appreciation to Dr. Simms for the tireless energy she has devoted to the district and for the tremendous reform and progressive change that she achieved during her tenure," read the statement. "As a result of her efforts, Steamboat Springs has become one of the top educational districts in the state as well as a nation-wide leader in public education pay plan reform."

The district first hired Simms in 1983 as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Simms left the district in 1988 to become superintendent of a California school district. She returned to Steamboat in 1994 to become superintendent after the resignation of J. Alan Aufderheide.

"I love Steamboat Springs and will cherish my memories forever, but it's time for a new adventure," Simms said. "I'm leaving the school district in great hands. Our schools are outstanding, our staff is excellent, and our students are the best. Steamboat's community support of its schools is the envy of every school district in Colorado."

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