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Kautz to retire at end of this school year

November 20, 2018

Superintendent Craig Kautz announced Tuesday his retirement from Hastings Public Schools effective June 30, 2019.

Kautz, who has served in this position since late 2006, made the announcement to the Hastings Board of Education during its monthly work session.

“We’ve known this day is coming,” said Jim Boeve, board president. “We knew it was coming at some point and this day has come.”

The resignation was made official by Kautz’s letter to the board that it is set to officially accept Monday.

“While I never sought to be a superintendent, I knew in 2006 that I needed to be the superintendent of Hastings Public Schools,” Kautz wrote. “Just as I knew what I needed to do then, I now know it is time for me to relinquish this position of responsibility. Therefore, I resign as the superintendent of Hastings Public Schools as of June 30, 2019.”

Kautz held several previous positions at Hastings Public Schools prior to becoming superintendent, including principal of Hastings Senior High and assistant superintendent of human resources and curriculum. He succeeded Gene Cosby who retired from Hastings Public Schools in 2006.

In his address to the board, Kautz said he prepared his resignation letter a year ago and has saved it since that time.

“I believe every single word I said,” Kautz said. “It has been my honor and privilege to work for a great school district and to work with a tremendous staff and tremendous board. I think what we have done here in my time because I’ve been lucky enough to be here is something pretty special. I would challenge the organization to improve upon it, make it better. That is one of the aspects of the culture we should never lose and that is that growth orientation. We’re good and tomorrow we’re going to be even better yet.

“I am a lucky, lucky man and I said it in my state of the district, the impact of this organization on me personally and my family you cannot measure. I thank you for giving me the privilege of working for the greatest school district in the state of Nebraska in my humble opinion.”

At that point, the board gave Kautz a standing ovation.

“The comment that this is the greatest school district is largely due to the person who made that comment,” Boeve said.

According to the superintendent exit plan, which the board approved several months ago, the board will hire a superintendent search firm to find and assess qualified candidates for the position.

The district hopes to receive four proposals and has already received one.

The board also plans to continue on with the annual superintendent evaluation even though Kautz will be exiting the position in less than eight months.

“He is always, in the spirit of our district, looking for ways to be evaluated to improve,” Boeve said. “I think he would be disappointed if we said we’re not going to evaluate him, so we’re going to go ahead with the evaluation.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, it was also announced that Donna Moss, the district’s director of student services, is retiring after more than 20 years of service to Hastings Public Schools.

The board is set to approve her resignation at Monday’s board meeting. It would also take effect July 1, 2019.

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