It’s “Just Noreen”



Noreen worked to meet the needs of everyone around her as superintendent. She met others with love and compassion.

On Sept. 22, KCRG announced the news of CRCSD Superintendent Noreen Bush’s resignation. She had been fighting a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer and would be stepping down after the 2022-2023 school year. 

On Oct. 23, Noreen lost her fight and passed on. But to say she lost her battle is not accurate. She educated us all in the way she lived, smiled and cared for our district.

When something newsworthy happens, as journalists, our first thought is usually “what’s my angle.” But there is no angle in this story. Noreen was a wonderful leader, with a big heart. 

Noreen was willing to take time out of her schedule to help Torch with anything. Our advisor Steven Tolly always had good things to say about her. He reminded us that she wasn’t only the superintendent, but she was “just Noreen.”

Journalism rules dictate we call people by their last names after we introduce them. It’s impersonal and unfeeling, something Noreen never was. She made an effort to know something about everyone, to connect to them on a deeper level. For this article, I am breaking some rules.

When we initially approached her resignation, we found the story of her career was not only important from a news standpoint, but it would showcase how unforgiving cancer is. It would highlight all the positivity she brought to the district. Torch decided to interview her, not just about her work as superintendent, but about her life and personality. Noreen kept saying she was eager to talk with us. 

We were excited to share such an impactful story, but were nervous due to her status and the respect our class had for her. Tolly kept reminding us “it was just Noreen.” Despite her status, she was always down-to-earth and treated others as though they were the important ones.

That interview was supposed to happen at 11:05 a.m. She told us she would log in after a meeting, but she never did. We sent emails checking in with her, seeing if the meeting had ended, but we never got a response. Our hearts sank.

“This isn’t like her,” Tolly said. “Normally, it might take a bit, but she would reply. She always let us know if something came up.”

We didn’t hear from her for the next week and assumed things had taken a turn for the worse. 

At 4:03 p.m. on Oct. 23, Kennedy Principal Jason Kline said, “You were the greatest leader. The most compassionate person. You showed us all how to be better. No matter your situation. You gave us all hope. No matter the struggles and difficulties the job threw at you, you led.”

We could write a journalistic, monotoned article about only the facts. But that doesn’t do Noreen justice. Noreen wasn’t just a superintendent, she was a mentor, a friend and one of the best things to happen to CRCSD.

Being able to write a 600-word article about her with some people who never met her, shows just how big her impact was on this district. How she inspired and pushed all of us without even realizing it. 

Our advisor best explains our love for you.

“Thank you for everything you did for my students in Torch. We talked about your kindness, fire and love for education. They could see my admiration for you from the way I talked to the smile on my face when we talked about you.”