SOUTH ORANGE/MAPLEWOOD, NJ - School Superintendent Brian Osborne has distributed the following letter to the South Orange-Maplewood community, announcing his resignation and decision to accept a similar position in New Rochelle, N.Y. Osborne has not responded to TAP’s phone messages and emails.
The letter, in its entirety:
To the SOMSD School Community,
This morning, the City School District of New Rochelle (NY) Board of Education announced that it will appoint me as superintendent at its meeting tomorrow night, to begin on July 1. Like South Orange-Maplewood, New Rochelle cherishes public education, values diversity, and strives to prepare every student to thrive in a dynamic fast-changing world. I am excited to join New Rochelle, and at the same time, the thought of leaving South Orange-Maplewood is heartrending.
Serving as superintendent in SOMSD has been rewarding beyond description. Learning, growing, and leading with you in this vibrant district is a dream job. I have been inspired to witness a school community rising to the challenge of increasing equity and excellence to maximize the potential of every child. Personally, I am grateful that so many of you generously understood that the superintendent is another learner in a learning organization, and allowed me to learn with you.
Seven years ago, we cited the poet Antonio Machado’s call to make the path by walking – al andar se hace camino – and I am proud of the road we have shaped together. Due to the outstanding work of a caring and committed staff, a thoughtful and demanding Board of Education, a community that strongly supports excellent public schools, and our 6900 great kids, SOMSD is on the right path. While there are still miles to go, together we have made substantial improvements across all areas, resulting in a changed culture, one that now more fully challenges and supports every student.
Thanks to your commitment to excellence and creativity, our students posted substantial gains on state assessments, and, more importantly, grew as learners, artists, athletes, and caring members of their community. Your work narrowed gaps in opportunities and outcomes, while improving high end performance significantly, with gains in advanced proficient scores outpacing comparable districts. We opened doors previously closed, and now more students of all backgrounds have greater access to rigorous college preparatory courses than ever before. You reduced suspensions dramatically, increased performance significantly, and sent a larger percentage of graduates to college poised to succeed.
We accomplished all this in the midst of a daunting recession, and you helped make difficult fiscal choices to target resources more directly to instruction and increasing system capacity. As a result, we reduced the year-over-year tax impact while improving student learning, minimizing cuts to existing programs, holding the line on class size and honoring SOMSD’s long-standing commitment to the rich array of AP classes, honors classes, arts programs, clubs, activities, and athletics.
As those that live, lead, work, teach, parent, volunteer, and go to school here, you form an impressive and unforgettable community, one that aspires to enact the principles of beloved community, and I have loved being a small part of it. I am confident that SOMSD will continue to flourish as you embrace the opportunities and challenges that come with truly preparing all students for success. All means all!
Thank you for allowing me the joy of serving our children along with you.
Brian G. Osborne