Departing PCS Principal Simon Fletcher, who has been at PCS for its entire 20 year history, was honored by the PCS Parent Volunteer Association (PVA) at the group’s gala event, BASH (Building a Scholastic Heritage), on Saturday, March 16th. The dinner and auction event, attended by 250 people was held at Kaiser Arena; the theme was Carnivale, celebrating PCS’s 20th Birthday.
Guest of honor, Principal Simon Fletcher, was introduced by Connie Smith, past Board President at PCS. She shared a biography about Mr. Fletcher written by Dean Partlow, PCS’s college counselor, and spoke warmly of the time when she and Principal Fletcher worked together. Ms. Smith acknowledged Simon for his caring demeanor. Randy Garrett, PCS’s Math Department Chair followed, and, with the help of current and former colleagues, lauded Principal Fletcher, sharing memories of earlier school sites and comments from PCS community members.
Simon was a steady and patient voice in a young school with high academic expectations and an unproven future. He was fair with students and honest with parents. I know that my mother and father Pat and Karl deeply admired and appreciated his level headed, calming brand of leadership. -Rogan Kriedt, PCS Salutatorian 2009
Mr. Garrett cited Mr. Fletcher’s accomplishments during his six-year tenure as Principal.
“We have facility independence…. The attrition of 20% which used to occur every year has ceased. Relations between Santa Cruz City Schools and PCS have never been better. Our percentage of first to college students grows larger every year and those that attend PCS do better than their comparable counterparts elsewhere. Teachers’ salaries were raised substantially to meet the level of those at other local public schools as a result of his budget forecasting and analysis. And all the while, PCS has continued to be one of the highest performing schools in the state and country.” - Randy Garrett, PCS Math Department Chair
Principal Fletcher was born in Palo Alto, moved to Soquel when he was a toddler and attended
local schools including Mountain Elementary, New Brighton Middle School and Soquel High School, where he graduated as Valedictorian in 1992. He studied Biological Sciences at Stanford University and then returned to Santa Cruz taking positions as a tutor and substitute teacher. After joining PCS as a founding teacher in the math department, he returned to school and earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.
After a few years as a math teacher at PCS, Mr. Fletcher also became one of its Assistant Principals and Dean of Students, a position he held until becoming Principal.
“One day a student was having a very hard time and had acted out in some inappropriate way. Simon, in his VP role, sat the student down on the couch right across from my desk and had a long chat with him. I do not remember the details or the exact words, but I very clearly remember the feeling. Without anger or belittlement, Simon was able to communicate with this student in a way that made him open up and come around to seeing how his behavior was not going to solve his issue. I was so impressed with Simon's handling of the situation, his calm, his insightfulness and creativity that helped turn a bad situation into something positive. I learned quickly that Simon didn't just teach math!” -Sandy Gmur (formerly Lansdale), Former PCS Executive Assistant
Principal Fletcher has always appreciated that PCS is a place for passionate kids who might like to surf, play sports, or participate in theater, and also take their studies seriously. He believes the purpose of education – for our society and our world – is to create educated individuals who can understand a complex world and solve complex problems. He has found his work at PCS rewarding; he relishes watching young people push themselves, and grow and achieve success.
Mr. Fletcher enjoyed surfing Pleasure Point as a teenager and working for the Junior Lifeguards in Capitola. His passion for surfing endures to this day as evidenced by his wetsuit drying from his truck mirror in the school parking lot. Jenny Barchas, PCS board appointed PVA Chair and this year’s BASH Chair presented Mr. Fletcher with a gift from the entire school community – a gift certificate for a personalized hand-shaped M-10 surf board by PCS parent, and legendary surfboard shaper and owner of M-10 Surfboards, Geoff Rashe. Simon also received a standing ovation from the audience and a loud round of applause before he took the stage to thank everyone for an amazing 20-year experience as a PCS teacher, assistant principal and principal.
“At PCS, [Simon] leaves a long legacy of students and staff whose lives he has touched and a powerful community that he helped to build up from the ground level. Congratulations, Simon!” -Felicia King, PCS Student Body President 2009
Simon will finish out his term as PCS Principal, and will remain in the PCS community as an engaged PCS parent (Owen, 2021 and Hannah, 2024) and an active volunteer. Maria Reitano will take over the position in July 2019.