HOLCOMB —After serving as the Holcomb USD 363 superintendent since 2011, Jean Rush intends to leave the district at the end of this school year.

“Well you know, there comes to be a point in time where change is good. I’ve always been an advocate for change, so it’s what we’re looking forward to,” Rush said Monday night. “…I think as adults, we’re always trying to figure out where is the best thing, where you can serve the most and be the most useful.”

The school board accepted Rush's resignation at its Nov. 13 meeting. Her last day on the job will be June 30.

As for her future plans, they are still up in the air, though Rush knows she will not stay in the Holcomb area.

“I’m working on some things, got some things in the works, though nothing is official,” she said. “I’m just looking at various opportunities.”

USD 363 board member Ryan Ruda said Rush has been been a strong leader for the school district, particularly in the fiscal aspects.

“She has been very active at the state level and been engaged to ensure that the school district is represented strongly. Her knowledge and competence in the role of superintendent will be missed as she has helped to grow the school district with technology initiatives, deferred maintenance, accreditation and assessment processes while being mindful about how to be fiscally responsible,” Ruda said. “Jean has embraced Holcomb and been very active in representing the district while being a servant leader within the community.” 

The district plans to do its due diligence to ensure that the next superintendent embodies the qualities and characteristics that have been identified by district staff, faculty and the community, Ruda said. 

“The school district has strong leadership and is recognized for academic excellence and extracurricular success. These attributes make the school district very desirable for the superintendent search,” he said. “The process for selecting a superintendent is one that the board takes seriously and will work tirelessly to identify the district leader for USD 363.”

The Kansas Association of School Boards is assisting the district with the search.

“They are in really good hands. KASB has a great history of working with school districts throughout Kansas,” Rush said, noting that she believes the process of finding a suitable replacement shouldn’t be a long one with the help of the KASB.

Rush said Holcomb’s new superintendent can look forward to a financially stable district and some building projects expected to come to fruition soon. Rush was referencing a bond issue that Holcomb residents passed in November for additional security measures.

The bond issue includes funding for a collection of different projects at Wiley Elementary School, Holcomb Elementary School, Holcomb Middle School and Holcomb High School that would total about $4 million for facility upgrades.

The projects include security camera additions at Wiley, as well as a remodel of the security office, totaling $135,000. Also included is a remodel of the security office at Holcomb Elementary School, HVAC upgrades to the school’s southern wing, and storm shelter additions, estimated to cost $1.27 million.

The middle school’s upgrades would include a remodel of the security office and HVAC digital control upgrades to an antiquated system at a cost of about $58,000.

Upgrades at the high school would include additional security cameras, HVAC upgrades, a storm shelter and wrestling room, and a new security office for a total of $2.24 million.

One of the main things Rush said she will miss about Holcomb USD 363 is the people.

“This is my seventh year here. It’s a great school district, and I think with anything, it’s the people. I think that’s the thing that is the most exciting. I’ve met some great people,” she said.

She said she also will miss seeing teachers grow in their professional skills, abilities and talents.

“There’s been the opportunity to work with a lot of great teachers on various committees, so those will all be memorable things,” Rush said. “There’s also a lot of memorable students that have gone through and accomplished a lot of great things.”

Contact Josh Harbour at jharbour@gctelegram.com.