Antioch District 34 finds next superintendent in town

In a quick turnaround during a tumultuous time, Antioch Elementary District 34 has hired a new superintendent to start the 2020-21 school year.

And the choice was close to home, as Bradford Hubbard, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Antioch Community High School District 117, was hired Tuesday by the District 34 board. He will start July 1.

Hubbard, selected from among 20 applicants, received a three-year contract at a starting salary of $190,000.

Before taking the assistant superintendent's post in District 117, Hubbard served four years as principal at Antioch Community High School. There he was known for an exceptional leadership style and ability to build relationships, according to District 34 board President MaryBeth Hulting.

Hubbard began his career as a science teacher and later worked as dean of students at Highland Park High School.

He will replace Jay Marino, who was placed on leave Nov. 1 for an undisclosed reason. Within three weeks, the school board approved a mutual separation agreement but offered no explanation of what prompted the Marino's departure.

"It's been a difficult couple of months," Hulting said Wednesday, adding that hiring Hubbard is "just the best outcome possible."

Before the decision to hire Hubbard, he and two fellow finalists were asked to present a school improvement plan at a community forum.

When he begins in his new job, Hubbard will conduct a listening tour to get to know stakeholders on a "deep, genuine and authentic" level. He also wants to "begin discovering and then sharing the amazing things" happening in the district and its schools.

Hubbard also said Antioch's elementary and high school districts would benefit from "a strong and intentional partnership."

With $18.8 million in building projects approved by voters in 2017 and school boundary changes completed, the district's focus will be on curriculum, programming and improving student performance, Hulting said.

Marino, who was in his sixth year as superintendent when he was put on leave, was paid $3,827 through Nov. 19 and on Dec. 13 received an additional $16,159 for eight work days and 11 unused vacation days. The separation agreement also called for the district to pay Marino's family health and dental insurance premiums through June 30 or until he gets another job. The deal also states that neither party would refer to the other in a negative light.

District 34 has about 2,800 students in five schools covering Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.

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