Art Ostrow, the athletic director at Riverside-Brookfield High School, resigned his position this week to take the job as athletic director at Hinsdale South High School.
Ostrow will join RBHS’ former principal, Pamela Bylsma, as an employee of Hinsdale High School District 86. Bylsma left RBHS one year ago to become an assistant superintendent for District 86.
On Tuesday, Ostrow announced his decision via email, thanking colleagues for their support, guidance and encouragement during his 15-year run at the school as a teacher and administrator.
“I have enjoyed my tenure here and I truly appreciate having had the opportunity to work with all of you,” wrote. “RBHS has been an enormous part of my life, and I will be forever grateful for having worked with such a wonderful group of educators, coaches and friends.”
Ostrow has been athletic director at RBHS for five years. He replaced longtime athletic director and football coach Otto Zeman. One of his first decisions, made in conjunction with the school board and then Interim Superintendent David Bonnette, was not to rehire Zeman as football coach.
That was a controversial decision, as Zeman had both outspoken supporters and detractors in the RBHS community. The football program had some lean years after Zeman was let go, but rebounded last year to make the state playoffs.
Ostrow, whose title was upgraded a couple of years ago to assistant principal for athletics, has been a low-key, calm figure in the RBHS administration.
Ostrow, 38, came to RBHS as an assistant football coach in 2000. He was hired as a wellness teacher in 2002 and was chairman of the Wellness Department when he was selected as athletic director in 2010.
With Ostrow leaving and Assistant Principal John Passarella retiring at the end of month, all the top administrators at RBHS next year will have been hired by Superintendent Kevin Skinkis.
“Art’s done a nice job here and he thinks he has a new opportunity, and we’re excited for him and wish him the best of luck,” Skinkis said.
Longtime RBHS boys basketball coach Tom McCloskey said Ostrow will be missed.
“I certainly wish him the best,” McCloskey said. “I think he did a great job at RB. He was very supportive of boys basketball. He allowed us to host many events there, and he was just a real professional and there was very little drama.”
Ostrow, whose hiring was approved by the Hinsdale District 86 school board on Monday night, will be paid $135,000 in his first year at Hinsdale South. His base salary for 2014-15 at RBHS was $121,206.
“We had a lot of wonderful applicants for the position and Art rose above them,” said Stephanie Palmer, the principal of Hinsdale South High School. “We want our athletic director to be someone who communicates clearly and effectively and he demonstrated that. He demonstrated that he treated all teams fairly and not playing favorites. That was an important piece to me.”
Palmer said that Ostrow received a strong recommendation from Bylsma, who is now an assistant superintendent in District 86.
“That certainly allowed us to consider him, but that was only at the initial outset,” Palmer said. “He rose through the first, second and then, finally, the third round.”
Palmer said there more than 50 applicants for the position. The three finalists were all current athletic directors.
To replace Ostrow, Skinkis said he will look to hire two retired athletic directors to share the job for a year.
“The reason for that is that it is already June, with some of our summer camps starting, and with the majority of the fall athletic season having to play at some offsite venues, and with the construction wrapping up, it is important for us to find some experienced ADs that can help us get through the next year with short notice,” Skinkis said.