Katy ISD names current deputy as acting superintendent
Deputy superintendent Ken Gregorski has been filling the superintendent’s seat at Katy Independent School District board meetings since July and now he will have the position in own right. At least for the time being.
During their Nov. 12 meeting, Katy ISD trustees identified Gregorski as their new acting superintendent, taking over for the embattled Lance Hindt who announced his resignation in May after he was named in decades-old bullying allegations. Gregorski’s first day as acting superintendent is set for Dec. 1 while Hindt wraps up his Katy ISD career on Jan. 1.
“This I believe is our strongest and best option,” said school board vice president Bill Lacy. “It pains me so much that we have to do this.”
Some board members pushed for hiring a search firm to guide the board’s search for a new superintendent while others said the current climate in Katy - owing to the Hindt controversy - might discourage top quality candidates from putting themselves into contention. The board had hoped to have the position filled by March but now that seems unlikely.
“I don’t feel that a March replacement for a superintendent is possible. There needs to be a little more time and a little more conversation among the board members,” said board secretary Ashley Vann. Katy “is the best school district in the state. We need to take the time to remind people out there of it and stop listening to the negativity that’s trying to take the good people down.”
Vann was formerly Katy ISD’s board president but stepped down from the position at the same time Hindt announced his resignation as superintendent.
Gregorski will continue to work with Hindt while both are at Katy ISD, officials said.
“My fellow trustees and I believe that Katy ISD needs a leader who will continue to support the high quality leadership within, maintain our standard of student excellence and advance the groundwork that has already been laid,” current Katy ISD board president Courtney Doyle said.
Katy ISD trustees Rebecca Fox, Dawn Champagne and Susan Gesoff said the district should hire a search firm to find their new top educator. Fox, a former board president, said she has worked with three superintendents including being directly involved in the hiring of two of them.
“It’s a very daunting task. It’s one of the most important thing that we as trustees do,” Fox said.
In addition to mounting the daunting effort to find possible candidates, Fox said a search firm will help market Katy to people who live outside the Houston area. A search firm “doesn’t just wait for the applications to come. They talk to them and approach them,” she said.
Katy is a premier school district, Champagne said, and deserves to be able to pick from the very best possible candidates for its next superintendent.
“Only a search firm could provide this,” she said.
Trustee George Scott vigorously advocated against looking outside Katy ISD for the next superintendent, slamming what he characterized as “despicable political thuggery” from some quarters in the community.
“We have outstanding educational professionals here tonight and in every school campus,” Scott said. “There are times to go outside but an external search now would send an insulting message to our entire professional staff and jeopordize the stability of critical initiatives.”
Scott said the outgoing superintendent did a superior job of getting the right people to the right place in Katy ISD.
“The educational professionals that KISD needs at this time are already here,” he said. “Our professionals who live and breath to serve our children and their families do not deserve the chaotic turmoil of topsy-turvy management change that some board members appear more than eager to embrace and unleash.”
Overcoming some of the negative attention aimed at Katy will be a challenge for the board and whoever takes the superintendent’s job, Doyle said.
“We want our community to trust the next superintendent who is going to be taking the seat up here,” she said. “I have the utmost confidence in Mr. Grigorski.”
Hindt announced his resignation from Katy ISD on March 9 after Katy businessman George Gay accused him of being his youthful tormentor. In addition, he has been accused of plagiarizing work from another post graduate student while he was working on a doctoral degree at the University of Houston. Hindt will receive a “separation pay” of about $700,000 once he leaves the district.
As deputy superintendent, Gregorski was responsible for campus support, including human resources and area assistant superintendents, for the 63 campuses in the Katy ISD. He was assistant superintendent for human resources at the Allen ISD before coming to Katy.