After a highly successful five-year tenure as principal at Santa Barbara High, Dr. Elise Simmons has informed the Santa Barbara Unified School District that she will be resigning from her position effective August 2, 2023.

Dr. Simmons will be taking on the role of Coordinator of Student and Family Services at the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

The district will be conducting an immediate search for her successor.

Dr. Simmons has spent 24 years with the district and is a UCSB alum.

During her tenure as the principal at Santa Barbara High, she led the staff, students and families through floods, fires and a global pandemic, yet still serving thousands of students throughout whatever means necessary.

“When I first was hired as the principal of SBHS, I told my husband about how excited I was for the challenge of leading SBHS and that I was well aware of the totality of the job itself, it was a lot of responsibility,” Dr. Simmons said. “The past five years have thrown a lot at us, but through it all, the SBHS staff continued to lead fearlessly and lovingly. I’m incredibly proud of that.”

As the school’s leader, SBHS has expanded its Career Tech Ed pathways to include an Interpretation and Translation Pathway (the first one in California!) and is moving into its second year of providing a Dual Language Immersion program. The school has also increased its support for social emotional learning and mental wellness by ongoing professional learning and creating a Wellness Center.

“Dr. Simmons has led by example through some of the toughest times that an educator can face,” said Dr. Hilda Maldonado, the district’s superintendent. “I have always admired her commitment to the well-being of her staff and the students they all served. Her quest for professional growth is one I can personally relate to, and wish her nothing but the best as she moves forward. She has left her mark on one of the most important institutions in all of California, and I’m grateful to her for that.”


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