Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kobza leaving district

April 24, 2008

The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education accepted the resignation Monday of Superintendent Marty Kobza and named Eudora Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Don Grosdidier the interim superintendent.

The 40-year-old Kobza announced Friday he was leaving the district to accept a similar position in Hot Springs County, Wyo.

Kobza, who is a father of five, said he and his wife had been considering a move for about two years but began seriously looking into opportunities about 8 months ago.

"From our standpoint, there's an opportunity for my wife to be home with our kids without working," he said. "I wanted some of the same opportunities for my kids that I had when I was growing up. Eudora offers different, very positive ones, but this is something unique that we really felt like we wanted to look at."

There are about 600 students in the Hot Springs County School District, whereas the Eudora school district has about 1,700 students.

Kobza has been with the Eudora district for 14 years and was promoted to superintendent in 2001 from his post as principal of Eudora High School.

Kobza's time as superintendent coincided with a time of rapid growth in Eudora. To deal with increased enrollment, Kobza oversaw the passage of two district bond issues. The first built a new Eudora High School on the district campus south of Kansas Highway 10. The second was a $45 million bond issue passed last November, which included a new 1,000-student first- through fifth-grade elementary school started last month and is scheduled to open in August 2009, conversion of West Elementary to a pre-school and kindergarten center, additions to the middle school and high school, a technical education center and a stadium.

"One of the things you learn as a kid, or at least I did, was whenever you leave someplace, leave it better than when you found it," Kobza said. "I feel good about that. I think we're leaving it set up to continue with systems in place for things to grow and become greater and greater."

Kobza said the hardest part would be leaving his coworkers.

"The people who are part of the leadership team in the district that we built over the last seven years - those are the people I'm going to miss the most," he said. "They've sacrificed a lot to make this place better. I appreciate them and everything they did. That's going to be hard - leaving those relationships."

One of those coworkers has been Grosdidier, who has been with the district for 22 years.

He and Kobza had classrooms next to each other as social studies teachers at Eudora High School.

Grosdidier was promoted to middle school principal in 2001 and then promoted in 2006 to his current position.

"I'm excited about the opportunity personally and professionally," he said. "In my discussions with the board, the key thing we want is continuity. We're happy with the direction the district has taken. We want to ensure the staff and the community that we will continue that direction. From a leadership standpoint, I take that as my charge."

Grosdidier said he was sad to see Kobza leave on a personal and professional level, as they have worked together in a variety of capacities over the last 14 years.

Eudora Board of Education President Kenny Massey said the board didn't want to see Kobza leave, but also felt Grosdidier made the most sense to fill the interim position because he was of the same mindset as Kobza and the board.

"Marty's been a key role player in the district," Massey said. "Everybody on the board is saddened to see Marty go and we wish him well. But we feel confident that we're headed in the right direction with Don as interim superintendent."

Kobza will stay on with the district through July 1 and Grosdidier then will begin serving in the interim for one year.

Kobza said he also wanted to reassure the community and his employees that he was not leaving for any reason other than his family.

"I know there's talk of the bond and revenue and whether I'm bailing because I see something coming, but we're right on track," he said. "The important key to that is all the safeguards that were in place with the bond issue to ensure that the mill rate will stay the same are still there. There's nothing that's going to change in regards to that.

"This has nothing to do with that. It's a very simple decision - it's about my five children, and my wife and me."

- Elvyn Jones contributed to this story

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