The Cannon Beach Academy is in search of a new board member.
Phil Simmons, a longtime Cannon Beach Academy supporter, is taking a step back and resigning from the academy’s board of directors.
Simmons is one of the original supporters who was at the forefront of keeping a school in town after Seaside School District closed Cannon Beach Elementary School in 2014 due to budget shortfall and tsunami inundation concerns. After five years on the board, Simmons said he felt a need to “take a break” and submitted his resignation this month.
Simmons said he chose to resign as an active member of the board to make more time for travel and family, but intends to continue attending meetings and be involved with the school.
“I’m still amazed we’ve been able to pull it off,” Simmons said, reflecting on his time with the academy. “What seemed to be an impossible challenge five years ago, through the perseverance of so many allowed us to not only open a school, but do quite well.”
In the last five years, Simmons played an integral role in securing the school’s charter, fundraising efforts and grant writing.
“His drive, belief and determination is what got us here,” said board president Kellye Dewey.
“He kept us going through so many trials and tribulations,” board secretary Patti Rouse added. “He’s been invaluable.”
With Simmons departure, the board is looking fill his role as the school approaches new ventures, including expanding the grades up to third grade next school year, hiring more staff and expanding facilities like the playground and kitchen to accommodate a growing student body. As the academy becomes more established, the board is also looking to set up a formal fundraising committee to encourage a more steady stream of funding for years to come.
While there will be more growing pains to come, Simmons offered some advice to whoever takes his place.
“Throughout this process, many of the decisions we made were not what we thought we were going to do, but they ended up being the best decision,” he said. “Keep an open mind.”