• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Bolt No.1 calls it a career

ICCSDs Scott Kibby takes early retirement
Scott Kibby, the First Bolt, is retiring after 35 years in education, including serving as the first principal for Liberty High School in North Liberty.

IOWA CITY Retirement: For many its a time of reflection on a lengthy career, and anticipation looking forward to a well-earned rest.
For Scott Kibby, taking early retirement from the Iowa City Community School District at the end of the month, its a bittersweet thing as he reflects happily on the many students and staff hes worked with, but the impact of the COVID-19 on education had a souring effect.
Kibbys story starts in Cedar Rapids where he graduated from Jefferson High School before attending the University of Northern Iowa for a teaching degree. Upon graduation, the 22-years young new teacher taught high school math in Eddyville. He was recruited to join Jeffersons faculty and taught there for 11 years while pursuing an administrative degree. Kibby spent another 10 years as the J-Hawks athletic director. In 2012, Kibby took the athletic directors job at Iowa City West High, following the retirement of the legendary Marv Reiland.
I felt like I had done everything I could for my alma mater, I was there for 21 years, Id dedicated my life to Jefferson, but I wanted to come to Iowa City, he explained. I was intrigued by the success at West High, and working with Dr. (Jerry) Arganbright (then-principal at West High).
In 2016, a new high school was under construction in North Liberty and Kibby was named principal of Liberty. For a year, his office was at North Central Junior High School, in North Liberty, as he collaborated on design elements, academic and extracurricular programming, and began to build the schools staff ahead of the August 2017 opening.
Thats the joy, he said. To me, thats the real work: filling it with people and building that culture, and getting the kind of people that are like-minded with you.
And then, along came 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teaching, and educating, and administrating during COVID is hard for everyone, he noted. Its hard for kids, its hard for teachers, its hard for administrators.
When he took the position of interim executive director of teaching and learning in May, he knew Liberty High was in good hands with his assistant Justin Colbert stepping up to principal.
What he didnt know was the virus would still be problematic in the fall.
I didnt think this dang COVID thing would still be going.
Last spring, he accepted everybody would have to deal with it for a little while, but Now all fall long, its endless that we deal with it, he said. We toggle back and forth between being online and being onsite. And now, I sit here when Im thinking about retirement, and Im thinking this crazy things going to keep on going.
If he were younger, he would just tough it out and wait for the days when school gets back to normal. But, I dont want to do education this way anymore, he observed.
The parts of education that bring him joy are seeing the teachers, and the kids, on a daily basis.
I just really like people, and what I do right now is, I walk in and close the door behind me, and I sit on Zoom (online meetings). Theres still a human element to it, but its just different.
When he would have one of those days, Kibby would tell his secretary he was going to just wander around school. Whether it was athletics and Id just walk into a practice, or go out to the fields, or whether I was principal and Id go into classrooms or talk to kids in the hallway or at lunch, my escape or my release, was to go see the kids and go see the staff, he said. This environment robs me of that joy.
Kibby hoped, as the principal of the (junior high and high school) principals, to be able to visit the schools.
I went to each school one time this fall, and that was in early September. While he still enjoys his leadership role, being robbed of the joy of seeing kids and staff every day, thats whats bothered me.
Looking back on Liberty High, Kibby said: Nothing is ever perfect but Im just really pleased. That place has a really, really nice culture, the community around it is really supportive, and the community has bought-into this school. The kids are awesome. They know what it means to live the Bolts Values, its just really cool.
For all the accolades about how the building and facilities look, he said, its the people that make the difference.
Thats the educators, thats the kitchen staff, and thats the kids. You can see the heart, the values of Liberty. Thats what makes Liberty special. Its all about the people.
Kibby is going out thankful.
The things I got to do in Iowa City were just amazing the success we had at West, and I dont know how many people get to open a brand-new school, he explained. Ive just been very fortunate to have the experiences that I had.
As for what the future holds for the First Bolt, only time will tell.
Maybe Ill sit on a lawn mower for Brian (Wernimont, assistant PGA professional) out at Brown Deer (golf course) or something. I dont know yet, he said. Something will happen, I dont know what it is, I just trust somethings going to happen.