The search process included the development of a Leadership Profile through focus groups of community, parents, students and staff. More than 40 applications were reviewed, which lead to a series of interviews and selection of the sole finalist.
Dr. Simmons’ collaborative leadership style, his district’s academic achievements, success with similar demographics, commitment to the success of each student and ability to serve students and staff in a highly diverse area were also prime considerations for the offer. In addition, the Board cited Dr. Simmons’ knowledge of the Texas school finance system, his expertise in instruction and the progress his districts have made with student achievement for all populations during his career.
For example, while in Tyler Dr. Simmons increased student performance on standardized tests, lowered the achievement gap, increased the number of students in advanced placement level courses, improved community relations and maintained the highest teacher pay scale in East Texas. The Tyler Board of Trustees was selected the 2005 State Honor Board of the Year by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
“I am honored to be named the finalist for the position of superintendent with Richardson ISD. RISD is regarded as one of the premier districts in Texas, with a legacy of high performing students, staff and outstanding leadership at the administrative and board level,” Dr. Simmons told Trustees. “If hired as superintendent, I will honor the excellent work already in place and strive for continuous improvement in all district operations. I view Richardson as a destination district and believe my experiences have prepared me to successfully lead here. I want the staff and community to know that I recognize that Patti Kieker is a well-respected, accomplished administrator in RISD. It is my intention to ask her to continue in her previous role as deputy superintendent."
The district must now wait three weeks before officially naming Dr. Simmons the Superintendent of Schools because of state guidelines. Texas law requires the Board to give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered at least 21 days prior to the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is taken on the employment of the candidate. The date for that meeting will be announced by the District when it is set.
Davis said the waiting period will be used to introduce Dr. Simmons to the RISD staff and community, to finalize the potential superintendent’s contract, and for designing a plan to ensure a smooth transition of leadership within the district.
Dr. Simmons received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin University in 1982 and 1987 respectively. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration from Texas A&M University in 2001 and titled his dissertation “The Effectiveness of Wealth Recapture Legislation on Achieving Financial Equity Among the Public School Districts in Texas.”
He began his career as a teacher and coach, followed by curriculum director and principal. He was assistant superintendent in Monahans ISD and served as superintendent in Wimberley, Presidio, Texas City and Tyler ISDs, all in Texas.
Dr. Simmons and his wife Kim have two children, a son at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas, and an eighth-grade daughter who will attend school in RISD.
For more information, please contact RISD Communications at 469-593-0300.