Moving out

Superintendent announces resignation, will leave district by next year

Kaine Osburn might be leaving the district, but his legacy will live on for years to come.

The superintendent announced his resignation a little over a month ago with a brief statement, letting students and faculty know that he will be leaving as soon as a replacement is found. Osburn says that he is leaving the district not because he wants to, but because a unique opportunity presented itself in his hometown.

“A rare opportunity came up to be a leader in a district in my hometown, where I both live and I grew up. I weighed being able to lead and serve students in a community near my home in a way that would be different,” Osburn, who has served here for three years, said. “After discussing it with my family, I determined that this was just a better opportunity for me to both serve and to be a better husband, father, son to my mother who lives right nearby.”

While being closer to his family and hometown was an important benefit, Osburn says that logistics also played a role. His current job requires a lengthy commute, which the superintendent says does not benefit anybody.

“I will not be commuting for approximately 30 to 40 hours a month, so that’s time I can give to my family and community in a way I wasn’t giving anybody before. I was just sitting in a car,” Osburn said. “I think what it also means is that I can be more present for both my kids and for the people I’m serving at the school district where I’m going. That really makes a big difference in doing a good job and being a good family member.”

Though Osburn says he could be doing a better job in a district closer to his home, administrators at the high school like Melissa Pikul, assistant principal for student services, said the superintendent is good at what he does. Pikul says the superintendent is always dedicated to his work and is always present in the community schools.

“He commits all of himself to the district, and that’s a really hard thing to do,” Pikul said. “To us, we have the luxury of having him be very present within our buildings even though the superintendency is such a big and busy position. All of us feel connected to Dr. Osburn, and can ask him questions. He is welcoming and open, I think the only way he makes that happen is that he spends a ton of time here. He’s a pretty easy guy to find, in a good way.”

Osburn’s presence at the school shows his support for the community, Pikul says. The superintendent always has “a presence at our activities, questions about how students are doing, and communicates with students,” says Pikul. A significant contribution Osburn makes is “making himself very available to students at the high school overall”.

While faculty and administrators say that Osburn leaves behind a rich legacy of community engagement, some students feel otherwise. Sallie Gutt, junior, says the superintendent made some mistakes with deciding snow days.

“I think his decisions have been really inconsistent. Although he seems to be following protocol, it seems like at certain times in the year his decisions are based on how the current weather will affect our travel to school, but don’t reflect the school policy” Gutt said. “I hate snow days because we have to make them up in the summer, and I would rather just go to school in the winter and get it over with.”

Though some students may still hold onto grudges from the winter, most high schoolers and faculty say that Osburn was a responsible and dedicated superintendent. Osburn says that just as he did in Lake Zurich, he will continue to use his observations to “create engaging, exciting learning” in the Avoca school district where he will take his new position.