Summit hires new principal for middle school |

Summit hires new principal for middle school

Jane Reuter

SUMMIT COUNTY – Iva Katz-Hesse and her husband long have dreamed of living in Summit County. Last week, when Summit Schools Superintendent Wes Smith offered her a position as the new middle school principal, that dream came true.

“We’re both avid skiers,” said Katz-Hesse, who has 14 years of middle school administrative experience. “We’ve been out here off and on for the last 15 years and just always loved it – the scenery, the winter sports, and the people. I’m really excited.

“We looked at the middle school when we were here in February. Later, my husband was surfing the ‘Net and he saw the posting (for a Summit Middle School principal). We both looked at each other and said, “Oh wow.'”

Katz-Hesse and her husband Jim, were in Summit County this weekend, looking at prospective homes and getting a better sense of the area. Jim Hesse has middle and high school administrative experience, and is also exploring career options here. They are moving here from Michigan, where Katz-Hesse most recently served as principal at Warren Woods Middle School.

Superintendent Smith is nearly as excited as Katz-Hesse.

“I went back to Detroit last weekend, and met with 25 different people, doing background checks and getting a feel for the kind of administration she has,” Smith said. “I have never in my experience checked references that were so consistent. They consistently say she puts the kids first in decision-making, she’s energetic, people trust her, she is decisive and collaborative.”

Smith said the consistency of those recommendations surprised him, as well as their support for Katz-Hesse’s desires. One woman explained, “She has done so much good for my daughter and other children in this school, and all of us, that if this is her dream – to move to Colorado -then we owe it to her to support her in any way we can.”

While many people may view middle school-aged children as challenging, Katz-Hesse doesn’t.

“What I love about them is their enthusiasm and energy,” she said. “I’m pretty enthusiastic and energetic myself. And I think you can really make a big difference in a child’s life at that age.”

A New York City native, Katz-Hesse has a bachelor’s in French and Spanish, a master of arts and a specialist’s degree in educational administration. She and her husband have two children, both grown.

Katz-Hesse, who replaces Mark Clark, starts at $82,000, which Smith said is a cut in pay for her from her most previous position in Michigan.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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