Superintendent’s new boss: ‘He was going to leave anyway’

Even if Palm Beach County schools Superintendent Robert Avossa hadn’t accepted a job as senior vice president at LRP Publications, the well-regarded educator would have moved on, his new boss says.   

“Robert is so good that he was being recruited by some even bigger districts and some states to be state superintendent,” LRP owner Ken Kahn said Friday in an interview. “Frankly, I think he was going to leave anyway.”

Palm Beach Gardens-based LRP publishes newsletters, books and online publications that are used by nearly every one of the nation’s 12,000 school districts, Kahn said.

As a special education director, Avossa read LRP’s publications, Kahn said. As a superintendent, Avossa made an unpaid presentation at LRP’s annual Future of Education Technology conference, an event that drew 10,000 educators last month in Orlando.

After Avossa became Palm Beach County schools superintendent in 2015, Kahn said, the two saw one another about once a month at various functions of the Business Development Board, the Economic Council and the Education Foundation.

At an event in November, Avossa told Kahn that he had been contacted about other high-profile posts.

“I said, ‘Look, if you’re being recruited and you’re going to leave, talk to me first,’” Kahn said.

Asked if he was paying Avossa more than his superintendent’s salary of $334,750, Kahn said, “I am. Not a lot, but I am.”

Avossa had been mentioned as a possible candidate for superintendent in New York City, but he said he didn’t want to leave Palm Beach County. He called the job at LRP “truly unique.”

"I get to stay in the community I love and continue my work on a much larger scale,” Avossa wrote in a statement Friday. “I've certainly had offers floated to me for many roles over the last seven years (as superintendent), but a scenario that involved making my children change schools was a non-starter."

Kahn’s pitch was smoothed by LRP’s status as the nation’s largest provider of content about special education, Avossa’s area of specialty. For LRP, Avossa brings the cachet that goes along with running one of the nation’s largest school districts and winning high marks for his performance.

“It’s a win-win for both of us,” Kahn said. “I wouldn’t have offered him the job if it wasn’t good for us.”

Kahn said he has plans for future growth in education publications and events, although he wouldn’t divulge details. Kahn, 70, said he didn’t offer Avossa the promise of becoming CEO of his $70 million-a-year operation.

Jana Kahn, Kahn’s wife and LRP’s chief marketing officer, is next in line. 

“If I get hit by a bus, my wife takes over,” Kahn said.

In his resignation announcement Monday, Avossa said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Kahn said Avossa won’t have to attend meetings and events at night as an executive at LRP, and he’s likely to have more control over his schedule. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

NEW: Giant food hall coming to Delray Beach on former condo site
NEW: Giant food hall coming to Delray Beach on former condo site

Giants in restaurants and real estate are teaming up to create an enclosed food hall the size of a football field in downtown Delray Beach. Restaurateur Dennis Max and real estate developer Craig Menin are planning the Delray City Market, a 30,000-square foot food hall at 33 SE Third Ave., half a block south of sizzling Atlantic...
Treat your pearly whites to a sonic clean
Treat your pearly whites to a sonic clean

I’ve been brushing my teeth this week with the Swedish made Foreo ISSA 2, which the company touts as the world’s first silicone sonic toothbrush. It takes only an hour to charge, which is said to last for up to 365 uses before another USB charge is needed. Obviously, I haven’t used it that long, but after a few weeks, it’s running...
Stanford, Berkeley boost female computing grads
Stanford, Berkeley boost female computing grads

More and more women are getting computer science and electrical engineering degrees from the Bay Area’s two elite universities, a goal U.S. colleges have been pursuing for decades. But in the midst of the #MeToo era’s focus on sexual misconduct, harassment and gender discrimination in tech, some of these young women say they’re worried...
What’s the best way to speed up your computer?
What’s the best way to speed up your computer?

At the gym recently, a friend asked me for some advice about choosing a new computer. He asked what was the “one thing” he should look for when picking his next computer. Of course, there are dozens of decisions about various features you should pay attention to when computer shopping, but I knew he wasn’t in a position to write down...
Finding the cause of vanishing disk space

Q: My Windows 7 laptop has been steadily losing hard disk space as new data is stored on it from a source that I can’t determine. The amount of stored data has been climbing at a rate of about 270 megabytes per day for nearly five months. I haven’t added anything to the PC but recommended updates and a few spreadsheets and text files. I...
More Stories