RANCHO SANTA FE — At her desk, Rancho Santa Fe School District Superintendent Lindy Delaney is multitasking just like any other day at R. Roger Rowe School. Despite all the demands, Delaney takes it in stride like a true pro.
After all, she has been with the RSF School District for three decades.
Delaney didn’t start off as superintendent. She coached volleyball and taught science. During her time at the district, she said, it was Rowe, who served as superintendent for more than 35 years, and then the school’s Principal Glenda Sumida, that allowed her to work on projects.
When Rowe retired in 2001, Delaney continued to teach and perform administrative work. In 2004, she became superintendent following an interim position.
For Delaney, the idea of retirement on Aug. 1 is nothing short of surreal.
“I’m going to miss working here,” she said. “I’ll miss the students, the teachers, the parents, and the school board.”
Delaney shared that over the years, the school boards have been like a second family to her. In fact, she’s conveyed to the current board that she is not going far.
“I’m here to support the district in the future and the new superintendent,” she said.
Pending official approval from the RSF School District, David Jaffe, the former principal of Torrey Pines High School, has been selected as the new superintendent. Delaney said she wants Jaffe to be successful and she will do everything in her power to make that happen.
While Delaney is feeling melancholy with her upcoming retirement, she’s not the only one sharing those sentiments. So are members from the RSF school board.
“It’s difficult to put into words just how much Lindy has meant to this district,” said RSF Board President Tyler Seltzer. “Her integrity, authenticity, and incredible work ethic have made her a fantastic leader. She has built deep, enduring relationships with countless number of students and staff, and has been available and accessible 24/7 for our school parents,” he added.
“Lindy has been resolute in her high expectations for how Roger Rowe students should achieve and conduct themselves both in and out of the classroom. She also deserves special recognition for her strong, responsible, and clean management of the district’s finances.”
Seltzer went on to say that Delaney also remained keenly aware of the vital importance that the school holds in the community.
“She is leaving a wonderful legacy,” Seltzer said.
RSF School Board member and Clerk Marti Ritto shared similar thoughts. Ritto has worked with Delaney on the school board for six years and described it as both a “pleasure and honor.”
“Lindy has been a stalwart champion of our kids and our district and a tremendous asset for our community,” Ritto said. She added, “Lindy is also a dear friend, and I know she will be deeply missed by our staff, our children and parents and our greater community. I would like to thank her for her tireless dedication to our children and for her unwavering support of our school.”
When Delaney reflects on her days at the district, some favorite memories come to mind. And one of them was the first day she arrived for her interview.
“It’s one of my favorite memories because I was looking for a home, and I had come from three-and-a-half years at Catholic school and had that feeling of a small community type of school where everybody was able to embrace a common goal. When I came here, I felt immediately like that was going to be possible,” she said.
And it was.
Delaney was quick to point out that she also learned from a master in Rowe.
“He had a way of wanting us to always better ourselves and provide a better education for our students,” she said, noting how it was all about giving students better opportunities and experiences.
Another memory was when she became superintendent. A few months after she accepted the interim superintendent position, she quickly realized how fond she was of the work.
“I am forever grateful to the board, especially John Stiker, who was the board president at the time who really encouraged me into taking the job,” she said. “I think the board had more confidence in me than I had in myself at the time.”
And another lasting memory was the building of the new school campus.
“I actually thoroughly enjoyed the work in building this,” she said, noting how leading the project was really rewarding.
While Delaney’s retirement roster includes traveling and spending time with family, she admits how it will be odd not having to go to work each morning. A bittersweet feeling also emerges because she will miss the countless people who brought so much happiness to her life.