Though there was no way for him to have known it at the time, Kaine Osburn was wading into a minefield last summer when he took over as superintendent of Lake Zurich Unit School District 95, just months before a high school hazing scandal erupted in November.
Fifteen months later and not even halfway into his three-year contract, the district's board of education is so pleased with the work he's done they are planning to reward him with a two-year extension Thursday.
"He came into a tough situation last year but the end result is that we're in a great place right now," board President Doug Goldberg said.
Goldberg stated in a district memo that Osburn received high marks from the school board during its annual evaluation of his performance. Osburn achieved or made substantial progress toward achieving all eight of the multiyear goals he laid out for last school year, Goldberg said.
Of particular importance was Osburn's Forward95 initiative, a multiyear strategic plan created with community input.
"It is essential that the district has engaged, stable, effective leadership to execute the Forward95 plan," Goldberg said. "Dr. Osburn's performance and his intimate role in developing the plan make him the right leader for District 95 for the next four years."
Osburn said he has enjoyed getting to know the Lake Zurich area in his first year on the job. Part of his plan with Forward95 is to provide many opportunities for the community to interact with him, his staff and the parents, students, teachers, administrators and others who make up the 41-member Forward95 strategic planning group.
Osburn and the volunteer committee poured over the feedback they got from the community and identified several improvements necessary to provide a safer and more modern learning environment for students, including renovating classrooms, improving libraries and building better labs for science and technology programs.
There will be more Forward95 community engagement sessions in October.
Osburn will receive a $210,226 base salary in 2017-2018. Under the contract, his base salary every subsequent year shall be determined at the discretion of the school board based on his performance.
The board of education will discuss Osburn's contract extension at their 6:15 p.m. meeting Thursday in the library at Lake Zurich High School, 300 Church St.