The Journal Gazette
Thursday, May 06, 2021 1:00 am

SACS leader officially retires

New position at Trine hastens Downs' exit

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The leadership change at Southwest Allen County Schools began Wednesday with Superintendent Phil Downs' retirement.

Lynn Simmers, assistant superintendent, will assume the leadership responsibilities as the school board continues interviewing candidates, board President Bradley Mills said.

He said in March that internal candidates were being considered.

“The district's new superintendent should be named soon,” Mills said in a statement.

Downs announced in January he would retire at the end of the calendar year, but a job opportunity at Trine University hastened that timeline.

Downs will oversee development of new graduate programs in the Franks School of Education and ensure the school meets requirements for accreditation, Trine said April 21.

At that time, Downs' last day at SACS wasn't determined.

He submitted his letter of retirement effective Wednesday, according to the district.

Downs worked in K-12 education for 31 years, of which 11 were spent at SACS. He thanked families for their trust in a letter Wednesday.

“Over the course of my career I have had the fortune of watching children grow into adults never realizing I was growing and changing too,” Downs wrote. “As parents, we often see that growth and change can be painful, but necessary. And so it pains me to announce I am beginning my retirement today.”

At SACS, Downs said, it was important to him for everyone to learn and grow together. The district built a great team around that idea, he said.

“It is now time for that team under the next administration to continue to guide SACS as it prepares today's learners for tomorrow's opportunities and continues to be a state and national leader in K-12 education,” Downs said. “I am so honored and proud to have been a part of this work.”

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