South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Scott Travis | June 23, 2021
Brian Katz, the Broward schools safety chief who was passed over this month as interim superintendent, is the latest top administrator to resign from a school district in turmoil.
Katz, 43, was hired in February 2019 to oversee safety and security in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland. His last day will be July 30, according to a letter Superintendent Robert Runcie sent Wednesday afternoon to the School Board.
“I am grateful for what Mr. Katz has accomplished and contributed to this district as he built a national model for school safety and security,” Runcie wrote. “We were fortunate to secure his talent and passion for this work at such a critical time.”
Katz became the focus of a heated debate at a June 3 School Board meeting after he was the only top-level administrator in the district to apply to replace Runcie on an interim basis. Runcie has agreed to step down on Aug. 10 after his felony indictment from a grand jury that also indicted two other administrators.
Katz’s application for interim superintendent was strongly supported by Runcie’s cabinet, a group of 12 top administrators who run the district’s day-to-day operations, as well as four of the nine school board members. A fifth, Patti Good, initially supported his selection, which would have been enough to hire him, but she changed her mind after hearing strong opposition from the four others.
Although no qualifications were listed on the job description for interim superintendent, School Board members decided they wanted the person hired to have a master’s degree and 10 years of educational leadership experience. Katz met neither qualification.
The School Board decided instead to re-advertise the position, expanding it from only internal candidates to external ones as well. One of the 26 candidates in the new batch is former Superintendent Jim Notter.
he fact that there was such a lengthy conversation to consider me is an honor,” Katz wrote in a June 4 thank you letter to the School Board. “I wish you luck in identifying the right candidate who can lead the District through this challenging period.”
Some School Board members said during the meeting that dysfunction and hostility on the board would limit who would apply for the job and would likely lead top-level administrators to leave.
Katz, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is the fifth high-ranking administrator to resign in 2021, the others being Runcie, General Counsel Barbara Myrick, Chief Strategy Officer Maurice Woods and Chief Financial Officer Judith Marte.
In addition to supervising school security personnel, Katz also oversees fire safety and planning related to emergencies such as hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before joining the school district in 2019, he worked as a special agent for the U.S. Department of State and as a leak investigator for Google. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology, psychology and political science from the University of Miami.