SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Anna Maria Elementary School Principal Kathy Hayes has been nominated to become principal of a new school in Lakewood Ranch.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH – The principal who helped shepherd Anna Maria Elementary School into a new era is moving on to head a brand new school.
Kathy Hayes made that announcement late last week to parents at the school via a pre-recorded telephone message. She will become the first principal of Gullett Elementary School, now under construction at Pope Road in Lakewood Ranch. Manatee County School Superintendent Dr. Roger Dearing nominated Hayes for that post last week. The School Board will vote on his recommendation at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.
The decision to transfer to another school was a swift one, according to Hayes.
"Dr. Dearing encouraged me to make the switch," Hayes said. "I was thrilled that he would appoint me."
The school district has already started the process to replace Hayes. It posted her position on its website Monday morning. After the district’s human resources department checks out the applicants, a community board made up of representatives of the teachers, support staff, parents and School Board will review them. Hayes’ last day at AME is tentatively set at Feb. 1.
"I hope that they will find a replacement for me, but if they don’t, there may be a short period where an interim principal will be in place," she said.
Hayes said there were several reasons why would take this new assignment, if the School Board approves it.
"For me this is the ultimate goal," she said. "I always wanted to open a new school, to cultivate a leadership team."
Hayes said leaving AME would be sad for her.
"I’m not ready to say goodbye, but I have to reach out at this time in my life," she said. "It has been wonderful here, the children are the pride of the Island. The teachers and staff will continue to be my friends."
Hayes, who became the principal at AME in March 2003, will have served just short of four years when she leaves. She moved from Orange Ridge Bullock Elementary School to replace Tim Kolbe, who took a position with the School Board after serving four years at AME. She said being principal of Anna Maria Elementary could be considered a great assignment by many qualified applicants, although there are also disadvantages.
"It’s a small school, and that’s good, but there is no leadership support in the form of an assistant principal," she said. "There is a high level of community involvement that goes with the job and it takes a lot of interfacing."
Hayes said she would remain on the board of the Anna Maria Island Community Center, one of the results of her community involvement on the job. She owns a second house on the Island.
Hayes named some of the accomplishments that the school made during her tenure.
"We were able to maintain an A grade as a school, to keep class sizes ideal and to add staff to support the needs of the students," she said. "I was able to add a second aide to the staff for exceptional education, a third clerical position and a half-time custodial position."
Hayes was asked what she gained as principal of AME that she could take to her new assignment.
"I have gained a stronger appreciation of how to build community involvement," she said. "I think I have learned how to better work the resources of the district and the school’s budget to get more for the staff and children."