New year, new Superintendent: Twenty years in the field,but first K-12 district

Megan Monoson, cover editor

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Accidentally canceling school and picking up choir students from the train station after a snowstorm in the middle of Illinois are just some memorable moments during the new Superintendent’s past decades in his field. Despite such strange experiences, Dr. Kane Osburn say she’s ready for the task of running the district.

“It often comes off as kind of I’m very intense about my job. Some people might think I’m a workaholic a little bit because I love my work. I don’t look to get away from my work, but I’m very passionate about it because I really believe that what happens between a student and a teacher or student/player and a coach or sponsor is usually the most formative relationship that can take place outside of the family,” Osburn said. “To me, there isn’t anything better that a person could spend their time doing than try to help that happen.”

Osburn, who comes to District 95 with twenty years of experience, has never worked in a K-12 district, but says he’s excited for the challenge.

“I was very excited to be able to come to a K-12 district, which is rare in Illinois. I think that’s one of the most exciting things: to be able to help to shape kid’s education from kindergarten all the way to the time they graduate,” Osburn said. “I think it’s important to be able to help work with first grade teachers and connect their work with fifth grade teachers and connect their work to seventh grade teachers all the way through.”

Although K-12 districts are different because they are a rarity in Illinois, according to Osburn, he plans to continue his same methods of getting involved in schools and wants “to have a full community engagement process” for this year. He says this will help him know “how to best plan for the future” of the district.

His former colleague knows, with his experience, he can successfully advise these goals.

“He has a lot of experience. I think the thing that’s probably the best: the fact that he was a classroom teacher for several years and he’s had many different administrative roles. I think that experience will be valuable in terms of helping out the Lake Zurich District,” Evelyn Lauer, English teacher at Niles West High School and adviser for Niles West News, said. “He was also always very proteacher. He was always seen as a colleague who was very involved and helped everybody out. In my early years in teaching I looked up to him. He was sort of a mentor of mine.”

Lauer said she has always known Osburn will  succeed in any future with any leadership positions he sought. Doug Goldberg, president of CUSD 95, who met Osburn during the interview process of looking for the new Superintendent said he saw this trait in Osburn as well.

“Out of the final three candidates [from] the beginning sixty, the Board came together and we were unanimous about Dr. Osburn. He was the overwhelming choice of the Board,” Goldberg said. “First of all, we wanted a Superintendent that had a vision of where to take District 95. Dr. Osburn had the energy and the vision that we thought would be most appropriate to continue the evolution and fulfil the mission. He understood the mission statement the best. He’s a very outgoing and engaging person.”

For his part, Osburn says he plans on following through with the vision he has for District 95 that will better, not only the current students of the schools, also future students.

“What I want that plan to accomplish ultimately, in very broad terms, is to find and make sure that every part of that plan maximizes students’ opportunities to grow. So whether it’s in the quality of the facilities, the curriculum, or it’s in opportunities in extracurriculars, all of those things need to contribute to students advancing farther in their own personal and academic growth than they would otherwise do,” Osburn said. “That’s my overarching goal.”

To accomplish his plan, starting in the fall and on four different dates, there will be sessions held that are open to anyone in Lake Zurich’s community to discuss topics that are important to the district’s schools’ success in the future.

“We’ll present on a topic that’s important to the future of the district and then we will ask for everybody there to give us feedback on what we present. Then we will take all of that feedback that we get from those nights and we will use it to identify ‘what does the future of the district look like from the perspective of the community.’ From there, we will try to build a plan that will make that future come true.”

Osburn says that talking to students will help him accomplish this plan and his “vision” by “making people feel like they have a voice in the success of their schools.”

“I really love getting into the schools, meeting teachers and kids and parents, listening to what they have to say, and then taking that feedback and shaping it into a vision for the school district and a plan for success,” Osburn said. “I like to get up and listen to anybody who wants to talk about how to make schools succeed. Then I connect that to what parents want, to what students want, and to what teachers want. I think that my communication skills will contribute to a successful tenure as Superintendent. [However,] the best part of my job is absolutely getting to talk to students because it’s your school.”

Coming from a family of educators, he was literally born into the field he says, however, since he found his passion, Osburn has had another goal that being the new Superintendent at LZHS will accomplish.

“I had a goal to become a Superintendent of a school district and a community that supported its schools and wanted to see them flourish and Lake Zurich is just such a community. Everyone is very much invested in the schools and the kids succeeding,” Osburn said. “To me, that’s the most important ingredient: that the community wants their kids to succeed academically.”

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