Kathman To Retire

The conclusion of the 2012-13 school year will also mark the departure of Jamestown Public Schools’ current superintendent.

After a career spanning nearly four decades, the last five spent as superintendent at JPS, Daniel Kathman has announced that he will be retiring.

“I just personally think that it’s time,” said Kathman. “The challenges and changes that retirement will bring my way are attractive and important to me and I believe that the district is in pretty good shape with respect to things instructional and financial. I look forward to transitioning with the next leader of the school district, which the Board of Education will select.”

On Thursday, Kathman submitted his resignation for the purpose of retirement to Joe DiMaio, president of the JPS Board of Education. Kathman had previously discussed his decision with board members and will formally announce his intention to retire at the next Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

“Mr. Kathman has worn many hats for the Jamestown schools over the years,” said DiMaio in a statement. “However, his No. 1 priority has always been the well-being and education of the children of our district. He truly cares about the success of all of our students. He is a man of the highest integrity and I am proud to call him a friend. I speak for the Board when I say that we will miss him but also wish him a well-earned retirement.”

Kathman is originally a native of Lawrence Park, Pa., a suburb of Erie. He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Mercyhurst College in Erie and his master’s degree in educational psychology from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa. The first 13 years of his career were spent as a teacher in North East, Pa., and an elementary school principal in Berlin, Pa.

Kathman came to the Jamestown Public Schools district in 1987, where he initially served as principal of Love Elementary School until 1990. He had been introduced to the Jamestown area by his wife, Deb, who is a Jamestown native and graduate of Jamestown High School.

“I was very familiar with Jamestown long before I got the job at Love,” said Kathman. “I had been coming to Debbie’s home for holidays and family events but, frankly, I was also very attracted to the school district. It was sized right and had a great reputation and many great traditions, so it was an easy decision once that offer was made. I love this district.”

In 1990, Kathman became director of elementary education, a capacity which he filled until 2003 when he became assistant superintendent for instruction. He became superintendent of schools in 2007.

According to Ray Fashano, who preceded Kathman as JPS superintendent, Kathman has served well in his current role.

“I came to Jamestown in 1999, when Deke was the director of elementary education, and it was immediately evident to me that he was a good employee,” said Fashano. “He is an excellent educator, particularly in the curriculum area and is a very dedicated and loyal employee of Jamestown Public Schools. And as we continued to work together, not only did I see him as a good employee of the district, but also as a good friend of mine.”

“He’s held a multitude of jobs in the district and knew it well, which is a huge advantage,” he continued. “Jamestown is a big and complicated district. (As superintendent) you are constantly dealing with unions, building projects and motivating young people to see that education is important. At the same time, you have to deal with the needs of the taxpayers. So it’s a difficult job maintaining the balance between keeping taxes low and having to spend money for quality education.”

Kathman’s retirement will take effect July 31. The announcement of his resignation has been timed to allow ample opportunity for the Board of Education to choose a successor.

“That is, maybe, the most important decision that the school board is facing,” said Kathman. “They are being entirely deliberate and intentional about making a good decision and being thorough in their selection process. I’m sure that they will find the right person.”