Kirk Overstreet leaves COD for college president opportunity

Kirk Overstreet leaves COD for college president opportunity

Rogelio Valdes, Staff Writer

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One of COD’s top administrators, Kirk Overstreet, is leaving the college for another opportunity downstate. Overstreet will be taking a job as president of John A. Logan College. He had been a part of the COD community as a faculty member since 2012 when he joined as assistant dean of adjunct faculty support, but that was not the first COD had seen of Overstreet.

Overstreet started as a student.

“It was the place that gave me my start,” Overstreet said.

He went to college out of the obligation for it but did not really know what it was all about.

His first memory at COD was with his history professor, Carol Carter. He described himself as “a middle of the road kind of student” and was a first-generation student. During his first year, his professor noticed a science fiction book he was reading in class.

“He looked at it, he took the time, and said, ‘Well you know science fiction is just history in reverse right?’ This totally changed my whole perspective on the subject,” Overstreet said. “I became an audit history reader after that, and this instance fueled my future career as a history teacher. Even during my time in construction, I studied it a lot. That memory of him and what he told me that day changed my life. It gave me a direction to go.”

Overstreet worked in electrical construction for 16 years and then returned to COD to study higher education. After the years he spent here, Overstreet grew the passion to give back to the school that gave him so much.

“My daughter came to school here [COD], my brothers came to school at COD, my wife took classes at COD, and well it has been a part of my blood since I’ve been a young lad,” Overstreet said.

Overstreet has always admired the way this school positively impacts and gives inclusive opportunities to a countless number of people in our community.

“We have students that come here to get an associate’s degree or to transfer,” Overstreet said. “They want to be journalists or historians. They want to go into English or physics, and we have students who come to get a welding degree or even a paralegal degree. We have traditional-age students and adult students. We have students like myself who are returning students. This school means so much to so many people that it truly makes it an honor to work in this field, and in this institution.”

He had fantastic opportunities being on staff at COD. Hiring and working one-on-one with adjunct faculty members. Getting them ready to teach the students, and supporting them along the way was something he found “exciting and satisfying” about his work. A highlight for sure was a project called the transitions commons area. He had noticed that incoming students with autism that came with their counselors would be forced to meet in random areas across the school and knew there should be a change. Overstreet took a room that was not being used well and made it into an inclusive and quiet meet up location for them.

“It was a simple thing to do, but an exciting thing to do to help these students be successful,” said Overstreet.

His final message for students and faculty was one of pride, and community.

“We have excellent institutions of higher learning that we’re lucky to be part of as administrators, as faculty and staff,” Overstreet said. “Our mission to provide the best education to our students is vital. To my colleagues, I would like to say that you are doing an excellent job of continuing the legacy of Carol Carter to inspire students. I saw it every day when I had the opportunity to sit in on classes. To the students of the school, I would say take every advantage. The college is YOUR college, and will always be YOUR college. Even after transferring this school will always be the base home and remember that because it is a great place to be. Good luck, and be successful no matter what that looks like on your own terms.”