KATY (Covering Katy News) – About 100 supporters of Katy Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt held a circle rally for him before Monday’s school board work-study session. The rally took place in the parking lot at the Katy Education Support Center Parking Lot, 6301 S. Stadium Lane.
At about 5:10 p.m., Hindt walked out of the support center and went to a spot in the middle of the crowd, where he received a round of applause.
The rally’s organizer, Debbie Ellis, is a first-grade teacher at Bryant Elementary and knows the Hindt family. She said she asked Hindt before the rally if he would stand in the circle. He agreed.
“We want him to walk out in the middle of the circle,” Ellis said. “We want him to see the faces of people who support him. No matter what direction he turns, he’ll see people who support him. Hopefully, it will be something that’s very uplifting to him.”
After Hindt joined the crowd—many of them wearing their school shirts—a supporter offered a prayer. Hindt thanked everyone for their support.
Hindt said the reception he received wasn’t surprising because he knows the community.
“I grew up here,” Hindt said, adding that Katy has the “greatest school district in Texas and, I would argue, the nation.”
Hindt said he’s received numerous e-mail and text messages supporting him.
“We have great people in Katy,” Hindt said. “We’ve got a great staff, and great community members, and I think what this community does is come together and support its school district. I’m sorry for the community that we had to go through this, but I also believe that through controversy comes togetherness, and that’s what you’re seeing here today.”
Board President Ashley Vann, who attended the rally, said she’s seen this type of reception for Hindt previously when he was appointed superintendent in 2016.
“He is overwhelmingly supported in the district,” Vann said, citing as an example Hindt’s leadership during Hurricane Harvey last year.
“He said, ‘I need your help,’ and the community said, ‘Whatever we can do,’” Vann said.
Ellis said Hindt had exceptional leadership skills. She described how on one occasion, her students were learning about voting, and Hindt visited the class so he could “vote” with them. On another occasion, she said, he served as a judge at a chili cookoff.
“He takes the time to come and be present for these events,” Ellis said. “That says a lot about him. He gets very involved.”
Ellis said if Hindt were to resign, “it would be a tremendous loss” for the district.
“We need to make a people-positive stand to let the community know that we support the superintendent,” Ellis said. “We want to restore the good image of our community and school district.”
Last month, Hindt was accused of participating in a bullying event that allegedly took place over 35 years ago. Area resident Greg Barrett, whose legal name is Greg Gay, made the accusations during the public comments portion of a school board work-study meeting. The following day, Hindt issued a statement that said he was not part of the incident that Barrett described.
Hindt said Monday that he would like to sit down with Barrett privately and discuss the incident, adding that they were at the same school together for less than four months.
“I was a brand new kid,” Hindt said.
Following this episode, an online disclosure of a 35-year-old lawsuit against Hindt was revealed. The lawsuit alleged that Hindt, after leaving a party in February 1983, got out of his car and assaulted a man after the man yelled at Hindt to drive more slowly through the neighborhood. Court documents also show that Hindt maintained that the man attacked him first after standing in front of his car and then reaching inside the vehicle. Hindt was never charged with a crime.
Hindt said Monday he was advised not to comment on the case. When contacted by Covering Katy, the man who battled Hindt some 40 years ago also refused to comment on the case on the advice of his lawyer.
Ellis said she thought of the support circle idea when she reflected on a book she read some years ago, The Circle Maker, by Pastor Mark Batterson.
“He (Batterson) wanted to start a church,” Ellis said, adding that Batterson would walk 4 ½ miles daily around a certain area of Washington, D.C., every day, praying over it as a possible church site. Eventually, that area became part of a church that Batterson now leads.