Lake Zurich 95 superintendent takes top job at in Wilmette
Popular Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 Superintendent Kaine Osburn, who in his just under three years on the job helped pass a $77.6 million building bond issue and establish a new strategic plan, will step down this summer to take a top job with Avoca District 37 in Wilmette.
Osburn, who grew up in Wilmette and lives there with his family, said the job with Avoca Elementary District 37 came together quickly.
"Twelve weeks ago, this wasn't on my radar," he said. "There have certainly been other positions, but I've passed by all those because I'm very happy here."
In the end, he said, he didn't want to pass up the opportunity to work in the community where he lives.
Osburn said he accepted the job Monday and made the announcement at Thursday's District 95 school board meeting.
Board President Doug Goldberg said he was surprised when he learned about Osburn's plans Monday.
"I think we knew when we hired Kaine that he's a very high-performance guy who would be in demand," Goldberg said. "God bless him. I'm glad to see him move into a situation with a higher quality of life."
District 37 serves prekindergarten through eighth-grade students and feeds into New Trier High School, Osburn's alma mater. It has a preschool in Wilmette, Avoca West School in Glenview for kindergarten though fifth grade, and Marie Murphy School in Wilmette, for sixth- through eighth-graders.
Goldberg called Osburn an inspirational leader and praised his ability to align the administration toward the common goal of establishing the new strategic plan, the Forward 95 initiative.
Before Osburn took over as superintendent in 2016, he had been Naperville Unit District 203's deputy superintendent since 2013. Before that, he was principal for six years at Niles West High School in Skokie.
Voters approved a $77.6 million bond issue last spring to improve its facilities, and a plan is in place to finish all the projects by August 2022.
Goldberg said an executive search firm will be hired as soon as next week to find a replacement. Osburn's last day is June 30.
"I know we are a little late, but I believe there are good candidates who'd be interested in the job," Goldberg said.
Osburn said he is part of a good professional network of superintendents and administrators across the region and believes he can be a resource to the board during its search. He said he doesn't think it is his role to recommend candidates.
"My job now is to support a successful transition of leadership at District 95, and at Avoca as well," Osburn said.
Goldberg said if a full-time replacement cannot be found in the next few months, the board will likely hire an interim superintendent and continue searching.
"I really hope it works out for him and I'm thankful to him for what he's done for us," Goldberg said. "He's set things up so well for the future. I think it's a wonderful situation here for someone to come into."