Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Katt heads home to Hays

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Staff Writer | 8/30/2013

Dean Katt is returning to the community where he graduated from college and said he is excited about the opportunity to be the Hays school district’s top administrator.

The Hays school board announced last week that it had offered a contract to Katt to be the Western Kansas school district’s interim superintendent. Katt resigned as superintendent of Ottawa schools in March.

Dean Katt is returning to the community where he graduated from college and said he is excited about the opportunity to be the Hays school district’s top administrator.

The Hays school board announced last week that it had offered a contract to Katt to be the Western Kansas school district’s interim superintendent. Katt resigned as superintendent of Ottawa schools in March.

A 1982 graduate of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Katt said he will be living with his grown son, Michael Katt, a Hays resident who works for the Boy Scouts of America.

“I’m moving in with Mike, so it feels like I’m going back to college,” Dean Katt said, laughing.

Katt’s wife, Ronda, is a first-grade teacher in Lawrence, and she will continue to live in their Ottawa home, he said.

“She is only a couple of years away from being able to retire, so she’ll be staying in Ottawa and continuing to teach in Lawrence,” Katt said after spending the morning Friday meeting with members of the Hays community, the district’s facilities committee, district staff and school board members. “My first day on the job will be Tuesday.”

Katt said the district is in the midst of looking at some facility upgrades and would be bringing a proposal to the community in the next year. As with most school districts across Kansas, Katt said, one of the most challenging components of the Hays position will be managing the budget. But overall, Katt said, he likes what he has seen in Hays.

“The district has a lot of good things going for it,” Katt said. “They are strong academically, and it’s a pro-growth board, so I think we will be a good fit together. I’m excited to go to work for them.”

Katt was among five applicants who were interviewed for the position Aug. 9, according to an article in the Hays Daily News.

“We had a strong pool of candidates, and the interviews were all very positive,” Greg Schwartz, president of the board of education, told the Hays Daily News. “We are very pleased that Mr. Katt has accepted this position. His previous experiences, vision for the future and enthusiasm will ensure that the Hays Unified School District will continue to be amongst the best in the state.”

The contract will begin Tuesday and continue through Sept. 30, 2014. The agreement can be terminated at any time by either party for any reason after May 31, 2014, upon 30 days written notice.

If the relationship works out well for both parties, Katt said he would not mind staying on as superintendent of Hays schools when the interim contract is finished.

“We’ll have to see what the future brings,” he said. “I’m excited to get started.”

Katt resigned as Ottawa’s superintendent in March with little explanation, although the board voted to retain him as a consultant through Oct. 31.

Dennis George, Ottawa school board member, said he thought the Hays post was a good opportunity for Katt, and he thought the former Ottawa administrator would do a good job for the school district.

“I wish Dean well,” George said.

Before his post in Ottawa, Katt was a teacher for seven years in Deerfield and served as a high school principal for 10 years in Holcomb, eventually stepping into the role of superintendent for Scott City.

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