Business's gains are Whitnall's loss

Board president steps down and says he won't seek re-election

Dec. 12, 2011

Greenfield - While Bill Osterndorf knew he wouldn't seek a third term on the Whitnall School Board in April, he didn't know that he would be stepping down as board president now.

But the growth of his business, HR Analytical Services, that he started in 1993 requires more time than he can give it and still serve as School Board president, Osterndorf said.

"It's been a real blessing," he said. "But growth in a small business means things really need your attention."

Osterndorf, board president for about two years, stepped down at the board's most recent meeting and vice president Nancy Zabrowski stepped up to the job.

He had planned to step down from the board at the end of his second three-year term anyway - in fact, he campaigned on that promise.

Smooth transition

The board does need experience, he said, but it also needs new ideas from fresh new people.

Zabrowski said December is a good time for these new responsibilities to come her way because the School Board only meets once this month.

"When the new year starts, it will start to become more involved," she said.

"Bill did a great job and it will be hard stepping into his shoes," Zabrowski said.

But he will be there to help and the district has a great staff that is enthusiastic about moving forward, she said.

Osterndorf's decision to step down, although unusual, didn't surprise her.

"I knew he was under a lot of pressure," said Zabrowski, who is in her fourth year on the board.

She will serve as its president until the board holds its election of officers after the spring election.

Strategic planning ahead

The biggest thing from now until then that's on the horizon is reviewing the strategic plan, which she said she views as critical. Back in 2007 she helped develop the current strategic plan

Unlike the previous plan, this one hasn't molded on the shelf.

Instead, the School Board makes it a point to refer to the plan and how proposals under consideration contribute to the plan's objectives, she said.

Ironically, it's pushing for development of just such a living strategic plan that gives him the most satisfaction, Osterndorf. He believes in strategic plans, and even campaigned on that issue.

"A strategic plan can act in part as a road map," he said, and focuses attention on points that the board continues to talk about.

Osterndorf said he is pleased that he carried out his goal of being out in the community to hear their input and answer their questions. He said he has made it a point to be at school events, at PTO meetings or events and generally to make himself visible and available.

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