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New Katy ISD superintendent charts his own path

January 19, 2019

The new leader of the Katy Independent School District said his priority as superintendent will be to continue forward with the district’s five year strategic plan.

“We’re in year two of a five year plan,” Ken Gregorski said after he was named superintendent. “It’s something I’ve been working on for the last two years.”

Specific goals in KISD’s strategic plan include recruiting and retaining top-level teachers and staff. That includes examining the district’s pay structure for teachers, Gregorski said.

“You dive deeper into the plan and you see how we’re providing professional learning for our teachers and for our campus administrators,” he said. “That’s where all the learning starts - with that quality teacher in every classroom.”

He was appointed superintendent after a unanimous vote from the KISD Board of Trustees. It was a far cry from an earlier board meeting where a 4-3 split vote agreed to name him the sole candidate for the position without a national search effort.

Gregorski replaces former KISD Superintendent Lance Hindt who left in a cloud of controversy after decades-old allegations of schoolyard bullying surfaced. A former KISD educator, Gregorski was hired for the district’s number two position two years ago from Allen ISD, where he had also worked for Hindt. As deputy superintendent, Gregorski oversaw several departments at Katy ISD, including human resources, school leadership and athletics.

“As deputy superintendent, I provided oversight leadership over a significant amount of this district,” he said. “I worked with every department we have - whether that’s maintenance and operations or curriculum and instruction.”

Unlike his predecessor, Gregorski has never led any other school district as superintendent. But, he claims a “very intimate knowledge” of the district.

“My kids have always been in Katy ISD schools. I think that gives me a little bit of an edge to know our community,” he said. “I know what our community values. As a parent, I want what all parents want.”

Gregorski said the time as second-in-command at Katy ISD has given him a sense of what the elected board of trustees are concerned about.

“I know this board. I’ve worked with them behind the scenes,” he said. “They know me and they know what kind of leadership I bring.”

KISD trustees who opposed naming him the sole candidate said their “no” vote at the time was based on their disagreements with the hiring procedure rather than Gregorski’s ability to lead the 80,000 student large school district and its 10,000 employees.

“For them to come out with the unanimous 7-0 vote gave me a good feeling that they’re confident in my ability,” he said. “I know we’re going to do great work together.”

Gregorski said he has been keeping his eye on Austin, especially with the state legislature back in session.

“School finance appears to be one of the highest priorities. Bills are being filed left and right,” he said.

He would like legislators to pay attention to “fast growth” districts like Katy forced to contend with exploding student populations.

“It would be nice to get a little more financial support from the state,” he said.

mike.glenn@chron.com

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