CATOOSA — A familiar face is coming back to lead Catoosa Public Schools.
Without debate or discussion, the Catoosa school board voted unanimously Monday night to hire former Superintendent Rick Kibbe as the district’s interim superintendent.
Catoosa’s current superintendent, Alicia O’Donnell, submitted her resignation on July 8. Her last day with the district is Sept. 2.
O’Donnell came to the district in July 2019 from Tishomingo Public Schools. Over the last two school years combined, more than 90 employees have left Catoosa Public Schools, prompting concerns from parents.
According to data from the state Department of Education, Catoosa’s enrollment dropped by 150 students during that period, as well.
Board President Jimmy Keeter cited the calendar as a primary factor behind the board’s decision to bring in an interim superintendent before O’Donnell’s departure. With teachers scheduled to report to work on Monday and classes starting Aug. 9, Kibbe will work with O’Donnell on a consultant basis during August.
“As a board, your primary job is to have a qualified, certified superintendent on staff,” Keeter said. “We felt that the interim route would be the most logical choice at this time because it is hard to replace a superintendent.”
A public school educator with almost 40 years of experience, Kibbe retired from the Rogers County district in 2017 after 10 years at the helm. During his tenure, Catoosa became one of the first school districts in the area to implement 1:1 technology in the classroom when it started checking out MacBooks to middle school students in 2010.
A board member for the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce, Kibbe is currently the Zone 2 representative on Tulsa Technology Center’s Board of Education.
“My heart’s always been here for Catoosa,” Kibbe said. “I chose to retire in Catoosa and make it my home. I love Catoosa and this school and the community. If I can help, I will be here to help.”
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