Following months of struggling to find a new city clerk, after the previous occupant of the role, Tracy Ferrara, announced her retirement, Scotts Valley appointed a veteran school board official to the post.
And in an interview with the Press Banner during her second day on the job, April 19, Cathie Simonovich, who most recently worked as assistant to Scotts Valley Unified School District Superintendent Tanya Krause, said she’s super keen on the new challenge.
“Moving over here to the City was a very logical step for me,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to serve.”
Meeting in the dim light of wood-paneled Council Chambers that have gone unused during the pandemic—near a 1970s-style fireplace with large stones for a border—Simonovich walked the newspaper through the professional experiences that she says have set her up for success in municipal affairs.
After graduating from California State University, Sacramento with a marketing-focused business degree, she took a job as a banker. She worked in Sacramento, Texas and San Mateo, and became the assistant vice president of a loan servicing division.
“That was life before kids,” she comments, reflecting on how her days in the private sector compared with the world of education she transitioned into.
Simonovich moved to Scotts Valley with her husband in 1998, and two babies soon turned into three.
“It’s a great town,” she said. “We’re very passionate about the city.”
She found herself wanting to become more engaged with the school system.
“When your kids are little, you go in as a classroom volunteer and you start wondering how you could do more, or help more,” she said. “At the school district, no matter what position I had, it was all about the students.”
She began as a classroom aide at Vine Hill Elementary School, then substitute taught at all the local public schools besides Scotts Valley High School. After that, she moved over to the district, working as the administrative assistant to the director of curriculum.
She spent 14 years there, including five as the superintendent’s assistant.
While she was no longer working on the front lines with learners, Simonovich says it was rewarding to see how her efforts translated into benefits for the kids.
“That trickles down to the teachers and the students,” she said. “You know you’re not working directly with children, but you also know that you can make a difference.”
In her role at the district, she was intimately involved in record-keeping.
“I was the liaison with the Board of Trustees,” she said. “I did a lot of work on the board meetings.”
That included putting together agendas and official minutes and publishing everything to the web portal.
Now, she’ll be taking on similar responsibilities, but this time for the entire town.
“I’m not 100% sure what exactly the job is going to entail, but I know generally what a city clerk does—sort of that liaison between the public and the council members, and the official keeper of records,” she said. “From there I’ll learn what else I’m responsible for.”
To figure this out, Simonovich had an early conference with the deputy city clerk.
Plus, her predecessor left detailed notes, to serve as a roadmap to her new path.
“I hope I can do as great of a job as she did,” she said, noting Ferrara’s example provides “—something to aspire to.”
So far, Simonovich says she’s been pleased with her new work environment.
“Everyone seems extremely professional,” she said. “They’re so welcoming.”