The San Mateo-Foster City School District board gave a special farewell to several outgoing district members on Thursday night — most notably the district’s 10-year superintendent, Dr. Pendery Clark.
After working in the educational system for over 30 years and working for the San Mateo-Foster City District for 10, Clark announced recently that she will be retiring. The district announced earlier this week that her replacement will be Dr. Cynthia Simms.
“For 10 years you have been our superintendent, and for many of the people here tonight, you are the only superintendent that we’ve known. … In some ways you’re synonymous with our schools,” school board president Mark Hudak told Clark.
Hudak was one of several who recognized Clark and spoke of her great work for the district.
“To give service to one community is one thing, but to have the task fo serving two different cities in a district like ours — I commend you for the challenge you took on back in 2001,” said Hudak, referring to the fact that the district straddles both San Mateo and Foster City.
“There is not one child’s voice too small or too big for you to not take an interest in,” attested one community member.
As part of the farewell, Clark was given flowers, an engraved plaque, certificates and other presents. Her last day will be July 6, when Simms takes over.
Clark is not the only one leaving the San Mateo-Foster City School District. Others include Micaela Ochoa, chief business officer, and Joan Rosas, assistant superintent of human resources.
“Micaela has contributed a lot of hard work over the years,” said Hudak in recognition of Ochoa’s time at the district.
“This evening is the last meeting for several people in the room, and one in particular I get to speak about, and I can’t do that without tears,” said school board member Lory Lorimer Lawson as she recognized Rosas’ work during her five years with the district. She will be leaving to join the San Mateo County Office of Education.
Concluding last night’s meeting was the introduction of San Mateo-Foster City’s new superintendent, Dr. Cynthia Simms.
“A single candidate stood out among all the others, and who best satisifed all the requirements we have set for our district,” Hudak said.
Simms is currently the interim superintendent of the Los Gatos Union School District. She has a B.A. degrree, two master’s degrees, a doctorate and 23 years of experience as a superintendent. She has worked in Colorado, Washington and several districts within California.
The board of trustees along with community members spoke on behalf of the new superintendet and expressed their eagerness to work with her.
Simms’ contract as new superintendent was introduced and approved last night, and includes a three-year base salary of $200,000.
“I commit to take forward that good work and do my best to make sure that you are proud,” Simms said.
“I am very excited to work with this district, to work with those I’ve already met and with others who I have yet to meet.”