Monday night’s Hays USD 489 Board of Education meeting was somewhat different for Dean Katt.
It was a meeting where he said goodbye to a district he has served as superintendent of since 2013 when he took the position in an interim role. He then took the official title before the start of his second year in Hays. Now, Katt is retiring — at least from his position as superintendent.
A small reception was held for Katt before the meeting, and other than giving his report, he didn’t have to do much but relax and listen at what the board discussed — although he did chime in on a few areas.
He will begin the moving process Thursday to his new job as the head of the human resources department at the Independence (Mo.) school district. Katt will start the job July 1, and new USD 489 Superintendent John Thissen will start the same day.
“I had planned to stay one year,” Katt said of when he first came to Hays. “(USD 489) opened it up for a full-time superintendent, and they selected me to stay a few more years. My intention was to stay one more year, and then the opportunity came up in Missouri.”
The decision to leave a year earlier than what he had planned was a hard one, but the timing seemed right. Katt said his years in Hays have been good to him.
“When I first started, there were a lot of challenges with the budget and those types of things,” Katt said. “I think we managed those things real well, and it’s been the most enjoyable job I’ve had. The people here are just wonderful. I couldn’t ask for better co-workers. We really worked together as a team. It’s just been a good place.”
During his last year, Katt was instrumental in pushing for the $94 million bond to maintain and upgrade district facilities.
“He came in when things were pretty rough with funding, budget and everything else,” BOE President Lance Bickle said. “He stuck with us. We do greatly appreciate that.”
For some of Katt’s childhood, he lived in Ellis. He is a graduate of Fort Hays State University.