Teaching veteran is now principal at Bordewich-Bray

Bordewich-Bray Elementary School Principal Karen Simms talks about the school on Friday.

Bordewich-Bray Elementary School Principal Karen Simms talks about the school on Friday.

Bordewich-Bray Elementary School’s new principal Karen Simms comes into the job with 21 years of teaching experience at Carson High School and six years as a vice principal at Eagle Valley Middle School.

Although this is her first job in an elementary school, she says her work at the secondary level was good preparation.

“They’re just smaller, but at high school or middle school or elementary school, they’re all kids,” she said. “They all want the same things. They want to know they’re cared for, that they’re in a safe place and they want to learn something.”

Simms spent the bulk of her career teaching American government and world history at Carson High School, serving her final four years as chairwoman of the social studies department.

“I love teaching,” she said. “I love working with kids.”

Moving into administration six years ago, Simms said, was a natural progression.

“I really have a heart for curriculum,” she said. “To get all the curricular access to do that, you have to do it from an administrative standpoint.”

She did have some concerns about leaving the high school level for middle school, but they turned out to be unfounded.

“It was a fairly easy transition,” she said. “It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. That was just the experience of being a mom, probably.”

A 1978 graduate of Wooster High School, Simms began dating her now-husband, John, who she’d known since she was 8, as a senior.

“Once we started dating, I knew we were going to be together forever,” she said. “It was meant to be.”

They moved 28 years ago to Carson City from Reno, where John served as the chief juvenile probation officer until his retirement last year. They raised four children: Jason, 30, Kendra, 24, Tyler, 22 and Zach, 15, who will be the final child of the four to graduate from Carson High School.

“What I find interesting is to watch education from when Jason was in kindergarten to now Zach being in high school,” she said. “That’s been really interesting to see the transition in education.”

She said Lee Conley, principal of Eagle Valley Middle School, encouraged her to apply for the position at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School when Valerie Dockery left to take over as grants coordinator for the district.

“He thought this would be a really good fit for me,” she said.

And she agrees.

“Elementary is so important because that is the foundation to get the kids to go on to middle school, then on to high school,” she said. “It’s like the big picture is coming together of what education is supposed to be.”

And she’s happy to be doing that at Bordewich-Bray.

“I just think this is a great school,” she said. “They have a great staff. They want the students to achieve and to grow and to be great learners. I feel very fortunate to have my position here.”


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