SM East principal hints at retirement, but says decision not made yet

Dr. Karl Krawitz has been at SM East for five years — but says this year could be his last.

SM East Principal Dr. Karl Krawitz sent a ripple through the crowd at Back to School Night last week when he hinted this might be his last year at the helm of the high school.

But that is not a done deal, Krawitz said later.  Known among the East crowd as gregarious and outspoken, Krawitz followed a light-hearted quip during his presentation by saying “I don’t have much longer,” until retirement and that “in the last year” you can get away with (saying more).

But the decision on when to retire is “not definite” and the decision-making process is still “in flux,” he says.

After 39 years in education, Krawitz is now in his fifth year as East’s principal and the reason he is contemplating retirement is a personal family matter to be decided as a family. He said he doesn’t know which way the decision will go. At the root of his retirement decision is the fact that the eldest of his two sons has accepted a job transfer to Virginia, so the Krawitz grandchildren will be hundreds of miles away.

While he is not planning to move, the family question is whether holidays and other off-school days will afford enough travel time to spend with the grandchildren. “We are a very tight family,” Krawitz said, so this is a big change. There is no timetable for the final decision and he says the thought of retirement has nothing to do with the job or the district, even though he predicted to parents last week that public education faces some rough years ahead because of the lack of funding.

Krawitz said he still enjoys the students and parents at East, where he teaches a leadership class in addition to his principal duties. He spent 27 years with the Olathe School District before joining Shawnee Mission as principal at West in 2000. After five years there he left to join a doctoral program at Baker University, where he still teaches a class. While he enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of the university, Krawitz said, he missed the interaction with students and parents and the energy of the high school which led him to move back to Shawnee Mission after three years at Baker.

Dr. Krawitz holds an Ed.D from the University of Kansas.