Retiring JPS Superintendent Says Serving Was An Honor

To Daniel Kathman it was an honor to serve the Jamestown Public School District Board of Education, its teachers and staff, and the community.

On Tuesday during a regular meeting of the board, Kathman formally announced his intention to retire as JPS superintendent. Kathman, who is also known as Deke, has served the school district for 26 years, the last five as superintendent. He said one reason he is retiring is the ”calls of his five grandchildren” are becoming harder to ignore.

After the meeting, Joe DiMaio, JPS board president, said being a superintendent is a demanding job and Kathman’s retirement is well deserved.

”He has been such a great asset,” he said.

DiMaio said he knows it is a difficult decision to make to retire. He retired about a decade ago from teaching.

”It wasn’t an easy decision … it was hard to pull the trigger,” he said.

The search for the next superintendent will be conducted by Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES. David O’Rourke, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES district superintendent, said the recruitment for the next JPS superintendent will be a national search.

”This is a responsibility I know the board takes seriously,” O’Rourke said.

DiMaio said this search process will be different than the last one done for the district when Kathman became superintendent. Ray Fashano was the superintendent prior to Kathman. Kathman had worked with Fashano as assistant superintendent for instruction before becoming superintendent. DiMaio said Fashano groomed Kathman as his successor. However, he said an internal candidate is still a possibility.

DiMaio said Kathman’s retirement date of July 31 is not a ”drop-dead date” to have the next superintendent in place because the district has a capable assistant superintendent in Dale Weatherlow, the district’s assistant superintendent of administration. DiMaio said, in an ideal situation, it would be nice to be offering the superintendent job to someone by the end of June.

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.

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.