KATY PEOPLE OF THE YEAR 2017 HONOREE
Superintendent Hindt demonstrated exceptional leadership before, during, and after Hurricane Harvey
KATY MAGAZINE l December
By Jennifer Skelton and Katrina Katsarelis
When Superintendent Lance Hindt arrived in Katy ISD in August of 2016 to begin his position, he entered a school district rife with controversy over a costly stadium that many Katyites were staunchly against. From his first days on the job, and to this day, Hindt has worked tirelessly to gain the trust of a community with his openness, integrity, and compassion.
A proud Katy ISD graduate
Before arriving to lead Katy ISD, Hindt was no stranger to the district. He went to West Memorial Junior High and graduated from Taylor High School in 1983. After receiving his Bachelors from William Penn University, Master’s from Prairie View A&M, and Doctorate from University of Houston, Hindt began his career in Fort Bend ISD as a geography, health and PE teacher at Dulles High School. He served at Dulles High until 2007, eventually as the principal, until his appointment at Assistant Superintendent. Stafford Municipal School District and Allen ISD had the privilege of his leadership as Superintendent until he made his way back to Katy. Hindt is married to Kathryn, also an educator, and the couple has two grown children, Zach and Alex.
Shining moments through dark times
Many of Hindt's brightest moments in the past year happened during some of Katy's darkest times. As the Harvey pummeled Katy, Hindt put the school district's buses into commission to assist county emergency operations with rescues. Hindt's efforts led to 450 people being rescued from flooded homes. "There were huge decisions to be made in a short amount of time and Dr. Hindt made them wisely," says Rebecca Fox, a 14-year member of the Katy ISD Board of Trustees. "We are extremely blessed to have a superintendent with a heart for our community and a vision for our students, teachers and schools."
Flooding and rescues
Katy was hit with a historical 52 inches of rain that just would not stop, and even district offices, some school campuses, and the Merrell Center began flooding. As rescue buses were being dispatched, there became an enormous need for temporary shelters with enough space for families and their pets. Hindt authorized shelters to be opened at Cinco Ranch and Morton Ranch High Schools. People from all walks of life and circumstances poured through the doors, many with just the clothes on their backs or whatever they could carry out the door. "We never expected what some people are now calling a 'biblical storm'" says Hindt. "But when it happened, our Board, staff and community sprang into action and helped in every way possible."
"Superintendent Hindt and his staff organized food, shelter, supplies, clothing donations and volunteers for thousands of hurting people," says Fox. "All the while, he and his staff were dealing with flooded schools and the administration building."
A man of action
Pictured: Hindt helps set up "Creech University"
Hindt says he always knew Katy ISD to be a strong, caring, and proud district, but when Harvey hit, the community became even more unified. "It was so impressive to see that Board members, retirees, faith-based leaders, volunteers, teachers, principals, parents and even our students didn’t think twice about coming out and helping those who had been affected by this devastating storm."
Overall, Dr. Hindt's hurricane-related decisions included the following.
Provided daily bus service to 2,400 displaced students back to their home campuses
Arranged for Bear Creek to be housed at Paetow High School
Authorized Creech students and staff to be housed at the U of H Campus, only about a mile from their home school.
Allowed staff affected by Harvey to use work time to take care of their homes and vehicles without being penalized
Provided free lunch for all Katy ISD students through October 31
Implemented a "Day of Service" encouraging staff to go out into the community and directly assist Katy ISD families impacted by the storm.
The support of a community
In a little over a year, Dr. Hindt has garnered tremendous support from the community which is likely due to the accomplishments already under his belt. He implemented the 2017 Community Bond Advisory Committee that recommended a $609.2 million bond package to the Board which was subsequently passed by 67% of voters, and will provide much needed schools and campus updates. Hindt also spearheaded the district’s first-ever strategic design plan where staff, student, parents, businesses, community leaders came together to establish and approve the mission and vision for the district for the next five years. Despite the unprecedented growth, the school district has maintained The Texas Education Agency’s highest rating, “Met Standard” for all campuses. Eight Katy ISD campuses met 100% of their eligible Distinction Designations, highlighting outstanding achievement at the highest levels in comparison to campuses with similar demographics.
"This District has always stood out to me for one simple reason…its home," says Hindt. "This is where I grew up and that makes my job even more personal."
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