Summit Middle School principal celebrates 33 years in education |

Summit Middle School principal celebrates 33 years in education

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – Proud of her tenure at Summit Middle School, co-principal Iva Katz-Hesse is ready to start a new chapter in her life.

After 33 years in education, she’s set to retire at the end of the school year. Katz-Hesse plans to stay in the county with her husband, Jim Hesse, who retired from Summit High School’s principalship two years ago.

“I think education has changed so dramatically over time and I’m glad to have been involved in it,” Katz-Hesse said. “It’s exciting to be part of the changes. Being part of the process and guiding it is important.”

Working in education administration has been both rewarding and fun for Katz-Hesse. She said she’s enjoyed her life’s work because she’s been able to impact both staff and students, watch kids grow and mature, and be a part of an ever-changing teaching climate. She entered into the education administration field in 1988.

Katz-Hesse also said she’s proud of the IB-MYP honors program expanding to a schoolwide effort, and she enjoyed working with staff, parents and students. She’s appreciative of her staff for their dedication, parents for their “amazing support” of the kids and students for their energy.

“It’s a great thing to be part of,” she said. ” … There’s enough things at this school for every kid to find a niche.”

Katz-Hesse said she wants to thank the community for their support of students during her eight years as principal as well. (She was a full-time principal for six years and has been phased out of her position as co-principal for the past two years).

“It’s a great place to live, work and educate youth, and it’s because of their support that we’re able to do great things,” she said.

Katz-Hesse moved with her husband to Summit for the SMS principal position in the fall of 2002 – it was her third principalship. She worked previously in numerous administration positions throughout Michigan.

“We’d been coming out here to ski and travel,” Katz-Hesse said. “And we were at a point in our lives to make a change.”

Now that plans are in the works to join her husband in retirement, Katz-Hesse is looking forward to a time when she can spend more time with her family and enjoy everything the county has to offer. Katz-Hesse has two kids – Sarah of Golden and Craig of Lake Tahoe, Calif. She also has two grandchildren.

Being active outside is also tops on her list – Katz-Hesse wants to dedicate more time to hiking, skiing and tennis, as well as travel.

The SMS principal said she’s working on a bucket list of places to visit with her husband after leaving the middle school, including Europe and various places throughout the U.S. She also mentioned Hawaii, Australia and Asia as potential destinations.

Even so, Katz-Hesse said she isn’t sure that she’s left the workforce for good.

“Who knows,” she said. “I may be back working somewhere.”

Summit School District is currently in the process of finding Katz-Hesse’s replacement.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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