CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Mychelle Simms has lived in Clovis for 17 years, worked in public education for 14 and is the new Clovis Christian high school principal this year.
After accepting the job as the new high school principal at Clovis Christian School, Mychelle Simms said she felt peace.
“When I closed up my room at Mesa (elementary school) last year, I thought I’d be coming back to it,” she said.
Instead, she said she heard “a call of the Lord. It was not something I expected to do.”
Simms, 39, was Superintendent Ladona Clayton’s first choice for the CCS job, vacated in June by Ivan Godwin who left to go into ministry and family counseling.
Simms, a wife and mother of two sons, worked with Clayton at Clovis Municipal Schools in instruction. Clayton said Simms’ life reflected a strong Christian Biblical world view that Clayton said is essential.
“She is respected in the community for her integrity,” she said.
Simms worked in public education as a teacher for 13 years, in instruction and as the assistant principal at Lockwood Elementary School for a year.
She said the CCS administration wants each student to have a true relationship with Jesus.
“We don’t want this to be just where they went to school,” she said. “But that they are a Christian. We want it to be a life choice.”
Simms, who teaches Bible class in addition to her role as principal, said the school has also switched to a block schedule to give high school students more quality time with their core and elective subjects.
With the block schedule, students spend 110 minutes in each subject. Simms said the block schedule helps prepare students for college and helps manage their time.
“This gives the teachers more time so they can coach more than lecture,” Simms said.
Friday morning is spent in worship and the afternoon is reserved for enrichment, providing individual attention for each student.
The teachers have also switched to a team teaching method.
Simms said the biggest difference between CCS and the public school, after five school days, is that she can pray with her students and play praise and worship music in class.
“I’m enjoying the aspect that God is intertwined in everything we do every day,” she said.
Simms said the relationship with students is what she enjoys most about teaching.
“If I can share with my students and they build on that, I feel like I’ve done my job,” she said.
Clayton said Simms is focused, self-disciplined, can think on her feet and is innovative.
“She knows how to work with a team. She has the skills and knowledge to guide them and then she gets results,” Clayton said.
Clayton said Simms has been connecting well with students and teachers.