South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

School board eyes search for successor to Simpson

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

The Lindbergh Board of Education soon will embark on the search for the successor to Superintendent Jim Simpson, who is retiring at the end of the current school year.

We wish school board members the best of luck in their search, as they have some big shoes to fill, given the statewide and national success that Lindbergh has enjoyed since Simpson became superintendent in 2008.

Simpson, who came to Lindbergh after serving as superintendent in Joplin for seven years, was very cognizant of the district’s “history of excellence” in academic achievement and fiscal stewardship and vowed to continue that tradition of success.

And he did. Lindbergh ranked No. 1 statewide in academic achievement for five consecutive years and had six schools receive National Blue Ribbon awards in a five-year period.

The district also has faced significant financial challenges during Simpson’s tenure, circumstances exacerbated by the Great Recession and the aggressive enrollment growth Lindbergh is experiencing due to its success.

Voters have recognized the district’s exemplary financial practices and have responded favorably under Simpson when Lindbergh has asked for their support at the polls.

In November 2010, voters approved Proposition L, a 65-cent tax-rate increase.

Had Prop L not been approved, 80 teaching positions would have been cut — on top of 60 positions, including 45 teacher jobs, that were eliminated for the 2010-2011 school year.

Over a two-year period, the board cut roughly $7 million out of the district’s budget.

Voters also fully supported the district’s efforts to address growth by approving Proposition G, a $34 million bond issue that helped fund the district’s sixth elementary school, Dressel, which opened its doors at the start of the current school year.

Simpson also has focused the board’s attention on the Lindbergh High School campus, as the buildings there are nearing the end of their lifespan.

Previous boards have enjoyed great success in selecting superintendents, as evidenced by the fact that Lindbergh has had just two superintendents since 1991 — Simpson and former Superintendent Jim Sandfort, who headed the district from 1991 to 2008.

If past history is any indication, we have the utmost confidence that the new Board of Education will do a fantastic job finding Simpson’s successor.

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