Rushmore Academy director resigns, MCS preparing to reintegrate the alternative school

The Marion City Schools Board of Education accepted the resignation of Rushmore Academy Director Steve Vanderhoff at Monday’s board meeting.

Vanderhoff’s resignation follows an understanding between the Marion City School District and Rushmore Academy to reintegrate Rushmore’s alternative educational opportunities back into the framework of the comprehensive K-12 school district. The transition of the community school back into the school district is planned to take place at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Steve Fujii, interim superintendent of Marion City Schools, cited recent changes in state law and expanded opportunities for alternative education in public schooling as the reason for the reintegration.

Vanderhoff stated that he resigned for personal reasons. He also referred to the work to transition the school back into the district, saying he supported these efforts and felt that now was the right time to make this move.

Vanderhoff helped launch Rushmore Academy in 2009 and has served as its director since 2012. The board appreciates his efforts to set the course for Rushmore Academy, which offers students a blended learning alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar school. A student-centered leader, he led the charge in setting up partnerships to help students get needed job skills.

Matt Primmer, president of the Rushmore Academy Board of Directors, thanked Vanderhoff for his service to the students and his vision that helped Rushmore launch and grow.

“The school has grown and has had a very positive impact on so many kids, students that likely would not have had that opportunity to graduate,” Primmer said. He complimented Vanderhoff and the staff for involving students in community service and employment opportunities and for leading an incredibly engaged staff.

“There is a great staff here to continue that legacy,” he said. “We wish him the best in his future plans.”

Fujii also thanked Vanderhoff for his service to the area’s students, complimenting him for being student centered.

Fujii said the school will continue working with students to help them achieve their career and personal goals including graduating from high school. The school will operate under the direction of Lori Vandeborne, Rushmore’s continuous improvement officer.

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