Tag Archives: kaatz

Through the Eyes of a Teacher

Sitting in a room artfully decorated with fall accessories as well as ever-prominent A&M gear, Yvonne Kaatz scribbles away, grading quiz after quiz. Her hair is perfectly done, her dress is wrinkle free, and her attitude is both humble and regal. Each of these small details shows something about her though, she is careful and calculated but kind and open as well.

Mrs. Kaatz has been teaching for a total of 27 years, split between Dripping Springs High School and Bowie High School. Originally she planned to be a veterinarian but after three years of college, realized her true passion lied in teaching. She had lead a freshman orientation at A&M and came to the understanding that she had found an hidden talent.

“I knew I wanted to teach when I was a junior sitting in biochemistry, and I knew I didn’t want to continue with that school and I also had been working with fish camp and I realized how much I loved fish camp,” Kaatz said.

When asked who had inspired her, not only in teaching but in life, Kaatz had quickly had two primary people in mind, both of which she knew personally and greatly impacted her life.

“My dad, because he was always teaching me to look after others and to stand up for people and to try to see the good in everyone,” Kaatz said. “Then when I was in high school, I had a nun—I went to Catholic school—who was an English teacher, and she really gave me my love for literature, but I didn’t know that until later in life.”

Though lovingly nicknamed “Nazi-Kaatzi”, it is clear that she has hugely affected many of her student’s lives. Throughout the years, she has received many emails detailing the ways she improved their writing which later lead them to be more successful in college. While she has powerful moments often as a teacher, there has been one specific moment in her career that she recalls very clearly. Even mentioning the encounter, brings the cool and collected woman to tears.

“So, it was a kid that I taught my second year,” Kaatz said, “and I was going into a pizza place to get something with my kids. I walk up to the register and I’m ordering and this guy comes out from the back and he goes, ‘Mrs. Kaatz!’ and I looked at him and realized it was Rodney. It had been several years, maybe 12. We start talking and he turns to the kid—he was a manager at the store—and he goes, ‘This is the woman who taught me how to write.’”

Teaching can often seem one-sided; however, Mrs. Kaatz sees it very differently. It is a passion of hers to shape young minds and to guide students onto the tracks to their full potentials. She sees the world as full of opportunity and gifts, and she tries to instill this view in her students, all the while, they teach her something too.

“My students have taught me how to have great joy in life,” Kaatz said. “I think that I feel young and I like being here because [they] energize me. I stay in it because I get so much out of it. I think it’s the energy of the kids and seeing y’all’s different passions is really cool. It’s so exciting for me to see people grow.”


Written by Clara Comparan

Staff Writer

Leadership retreat to improve DSHS

Jules PetersonEach year the Leadership Committee of the DSHS faculty have two Leadership Retreats in order to focus on how to further improve our school. At the most recent retreat, which took place on February 1, 2016, they discussed creating a new instructional model.

“At the retreat we focused on bigger picture academic issues like different types of curriculum and aligning that with the middle school,” assistant athletic director, Marissa Parks, said.

Principal Joe Burns believes that the new model will enhance the learning experience.

“The different instructional model will have to involve more student design in curriculum,” Burns said. “A lot of time was spent looking at how we make that happen.”

Yvonne Kaatz, head of the English department, explains how the team is always looking ahead to the future of DSHS.

“For instance, in the summer we look at that first week of school and Tiger Day,” Kaatz said. “That was where we came up with the idea for the day where we go over the things that we want everybody in the school to know as well as trying to build a good atmosphere in the first week of school each year.”

They also focus on other issues that affect the daily lives of students.

“In the spring, this year we discussed having days designated for PBL’s or summative grades,” Kaatz said. “There is a testing day that we have for each subject and we may need to adapt that so that kids don’t have too many things that are summative grades all at one time or on one day imparticular.”

Parks agrees that testing days are an important topic, especially in relation to sporting events.

“We, as the athletic department, don’t like to have Tuesday’s and Friday’s as testing days because a lot of kids are gone these days for sporting events,” Parks said. “So kind of just pulling those the academic and athletic worlds together because they really do align.”

Furthermore, the retreat was a time where the leadership team was able to bond and refocus on the vision of the school.

“It’s a day to bring everyone together,” Parks said. “Dr. Gering came and talked to us and brought us together as a campus to help focus on our vision and focus on if this is what we want to do and this is what we need to happen.”

Bonding is an important part of making any leadership team stronger.

“One of the challenges of progress is finding the time to get people together and come up with new ideas and reflect on your practices,” Burns said. “Really that day is an opportunity to do a lot of that.”

Written by Jules Peterson