By Sam Jack
GARDEN PLAIN – USD 267 Renwick superintendent Tracy Bourne is retiring at the end of the month, concluding a 32-year career as an educator.
Twenty-four of those years have been spent in Renwick, and Bourne said he is proud of what the district has accomplished, both during his eight years as superintendent and in earlier stints as Garden Plain High School principal, and football and girls basketball coach.
“Especially the last three or four years, we’ve done a lot of really good things for the kids,” Bourne said. “We adopted a digital curriculum for the first time in our district, and we have the Chromebook one-to-one initiative at the high schools. We’ve added FFA, which has been a great, great program for us. Hopefully some of those initiatives have really impacted kids to find a passion and calling earlier in life, so that when they leave us, they have a direction.”
Bourne played football at Highland Community College and Baker University. After he graduated, in 1986, he got his first teaching and coaching jobs in Daytona Beach, Fla.
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“It was a great experience and I met some great people I’m still friends with, but the lifestyle and values, just the whole culture, certainly wasn’t as good a fit as Kansas,” Bourne said.
He moved back to Kansas in 1988 and got his first head coaching job with B&B Baileyville, a school that has since merged with Nemaha Central.
He met his wife, Jill, in Baileyville, then moved to the Wichita area and got a teaching and coaching job in Garden Plain. He was the head girls basketball coach from 1990 to 1993, and he held the head football job from 1993 to 1998.
“I kind of joke about it, but I’m the only guy to lose two State (football) championship games and be allowed to come back,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to coach some really, really good athletes and strong programs.”
He was sad to give up both classroom teaching and coaching when he became GPHS principal.
“Every time you move into a different level of administration, you’re moving one step further away from the kids,” he said. “What I really missed more than anything is the relationships. You feel a special bond with your team and players, and you just don’t have that nearly as much as an administrator.”
Bourne took over as Renwick superintendent during a time of financial crunch, and cuts have caused concern and heartache, but they have not stopped Renwick from being a great district, he said.
“I love this district. It’s where I grew up as an educator, and it’s where I chose to raise my kids and send them to school. So I am very invested in it, and I feel like we’ve done some great things,” Bourne said.
Bourne plans to explore opportunities in the private sector but does not rule out a future return to the education field. His wife, Jill, is the librarian at Discovery Intermediate School in Goddard, and the couple have three children, all of whom are teaching or training to become teachers.