RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — As the school year comes to an end in Rapid City, the school district is looking for a new leader.
Superintendent Lori Simon is leaving the Rapid City Area Schools after 6 years as superintendent.
As she prepares for her final day as superintendent, Lori Simon believes she’s leaving behind some positive changes.
“And I think it really was through that focused strategic plan that we were able to accomplish so much. We did a lot of great work with improving our reading scores, especially our elementary reading scores pre-COVID and we are hoping to see that bounce back again this year. We did some great work with introducing STEM and STEAM to our schools, we launched our high school career academies,” Simon said.
From improving learning scores to building brand new facilities, she’s overseen the start of many important projects.
“I mean there’s just a lot to be proud of and I do feel that despite the challenges of the last two years and all that has come with that, we definitely still are going to emerge and come out of this strong,” Simon said.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Simon was faced with school closures, e-learning, masks and other health precautions.
“I think we did the very best that we could. And in this role, you have to be able to sleep at night knowing that you have done everything that you can to help support your students and your staff and I feel like I’ve done that. And it hasn’t made everyone happy but on the other hand, for the most part, we have kept our students and our staff healthy,” Simon said.
And from that experience, some new traditions even started.
“So next Thursday and Friday we will be delivering yard signs to the homes of our graduates and myself included, the entire senior team and other volunteers pitch in and we hand deliver signs to each our grads,” Simon said.
Many students and staff in the District are grateful for her time at the School. Including at Robbinsdale Elementary. Where students are looking to make a difference.
“Dr. Simon has done an incredible job in the district, she’s always worked really hard to keep our teachers in mind. She’s very focused on the community and works really hard to meet the needs and she’s a great listener,” Megan Lougheed, teacher, said.
“Dr. Simon we wish you well!” Delsyn Kurniawan, EJ Morrison, Aurelin Urban, students, said.
“Because there is student leadership, I want to be a part of that because it makes a difference in our community and even in our world,” Delsyn Kurniawan, a student said.
“She is going to be greatly missed and I wish her well on her next adventure, whatever it may be,” Lougheed said.
Simon says she is very hopeful for the future of the Rapid City Area Schools. While it was a hard decision to leave, this is the right time for her.
“I love this District, I love our staff, our families, our kids and I’m really proud of everything that we’ve accomplished in the six years that I’ve been here,” Simon said.
The last day of school for the Rapid City District is May 26th.
Before then, Superintendent Lori Simon is looking forward to graduations, end-of-year concerts, and more events.
Simon says she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandkids.