Katt hired as interim superintendent
By JUDY SHERARD
The Hays USD 489 Board of Education voted unanimously Monday afternoon to hire Dean Katt as interim superintendent in a special meeting that lasted fewer than five minutes.
Katt, most recently superintendent of Ottawa schools and originally from Ellis, said he's "ready to make the transition next week."
Katt's contract begins Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2014. The agreement could be terminated by Katt or the board for any reason after May 31, 2014, with 30 days notice. His monthly salary is $11,360.42, or $147,685.46, for the entire 13-month period.
He will step in for Superintendent Will Roth, who is retiring Oct. 1.
Roth, who has been at USD 489 since 1985 and the district's superintendent since 2010, was asked by the board this summer to move his retirement date up from July 1, 2014.
The board interviewed five interim superintendent candidates Aug. 16.
Board President Greg Schwartz said after the interviews, the board conducted "follow-up" on Katt, which included contract discussions and checking references.
Schwartz said board member Josh Waddell checked references.
The references "came back phenomenal," Schwartz said.
Katt, Ottawa superintendent since 2006, resigned in March -- in hopes of slowing down and retiring -- but continued as a consultant for the district. He since has resigned from that position.
He grew up in Ellis, graduated from Alma High School and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University.
Katt began his career as a teacher in Deerfield, becoming Holcomb High School principal and serving as superintendent at Scott City before going to Ottawa.
"He's a proven leader," Schwartz said Friday.
Katt plans to live in Hays with his son, Michael Katt, an executive with Boy Scouts Wheatland District. His wife plans to continue her teaching job in Lawrence.
Katt met most the district's building principals at Monday's board meeting and plans to visit the schools today before returning to Ottawa.
"I just want to thank the board for the opportunity," Katt said.
The school district plans to conduct a national search to fill the superintendent's position permanently.
Letters have been sent to executive search firms asking for proposals on consulting services for a national search.
Proposals were due Friday, and screening of proposals by the board was scheduled for Monday. However, that has been postponed because of the revised board meeting calendar.
Schwartz said he wasn't sure how soon the board would begin the screening process.