Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eudora losing talented leader with Kobza

April 24, 2008

Marty Kobza's announcement that he would be leaving Eudora and the USD 491 at the end of the school year means the departure of a talented educator and community leader.

The job of superintendent is a stew of different interrelated responsibilities from academic to public finance. Someone good at the job has to be mindful of what is happening day to day in the district while monitoring future trends. And much more than their counterparts in municipal government, superintendents are the out-front spokesperson for district.

Kobza was hired to succeed someone who failed in less than a year to win the community's confidence he could handle those multiple roles. Stepping into that void, he provided assured and positive leadership from the start. Less than six months after being the district's top job, he oversaw the first of two bond referendums the district would pass during his tenure.

As the need for two bond issues attest, his time as superintendent coincided with an era of rapid growth in the community and district. It was also at a time district's nationwide dealt with the demands of 2001 No Child Left Behind federal education reform act. The test scores posted by all district schools provide evidence that challenge was successfully met.

Those initiatives that seem to us to owe much of their stimulus to Kobza are the Eudora Learning Center and the Eudora/De Soto Technical Education Center. The former provides an option for area dropouts looking to obtain a high school diploma, and the later provides job skill training in things as diverse as culinary arts and horticulture. Kobza could quote the demand and rewards of such education, making a case for classes in obscure but lucrative areas as production-line machinery maintenance.

As Kobza would surely insist, the achievements during his seven years at the head of the district were team successes. We would agree but add success comes earlier with leadership.

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