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Osborne to Leave SOM School District

After a week of speculation within the South Orange – Maplewood community, Superintendent Brian Osborne announced that he is leaving the school district to head the New Rochelle (NY) school system.

In a district-wide email sent Monday afternoon, Osborne said the City School District of New Rochelle Board of Education will appoint him superintendent Tuesday night, effective 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,” wrote Osborne in the email, calling the decision to leave the South Orange – Maplewood School District (SOMSD) “heartrending,” and his role there a “dream job.”

Stating that SOMSD is “on the right path,” Osborne, who began his tenure seven years ago, said, “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.”

Last year, Osborne was offered the job of superintendent of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Public Schools, but he turned down the position, citing family reasons that forced him to remain in the area.

Osborne’s contract with SOMSD expires on June 30, after which he would have been subject to a state salary cap that would force him to take a roughly $50,000 pay cut. Last July, the SOM Board of Education voted to increase Osborne’s salary to $220,001.

In the email, Osborne cited gains on state assessments, a narrowing of gaps in “opportunities and outcomes” and improvements in the performance of high achieving students in the district.

He continued, “We opened doors previously closed, and now more students of all backgrounds have greater access to rigorous college preparatory courses than ever before. [We] reduced suspensions dramatically, increased performance significantly, and sent a larger percentage of graduates to college poised to succeed.”

During his tenure, Osborne oversaw several major changes to the district, including the addition of all-day Kindergarten, a reduction in academic levels, and the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in the middle schools.

Several of the changes, such as de-leveling and the IB program, have met with resistance from some parents and teachers. In recent BOE meetings, a number of South Orange Middle School teachers have expressed their disapproval of the IB program implementation.

Osborne said in the email that he was confident the district would “continue to flourish as you embrace the opportunities and challenges that come with truly preparing all students for success. All means all!”

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