New District 34 superintendent sees collaboration as the key

Antioch Elementary District 34 has hired a new superintendent to replace Brad Hubbard, who resigned effective June 30 with a year left on his contract.

The school board at a special meeting Tuesday approved a two-year contract with Aron Borowiak, superintendent at Union County College Corner Joint School District, which serves portions of Indiana and Ohio.

The kindergarten-through-12th grade district has about 1,300 students in five schools, roughly half that of District 34 in the same number of schools. Borowiak will start July 20 at a base annual salary of $193,000.

Borowiak introduced himself to the community and district employees in a letter Wednesday night and said he plans to build relationships with stakeholders. He said he'll learn their "values, expectations and aspirations" to determine the district's strengths and challenges to enhance the educational experience.

District officials have said a renewed and singular focus on what's best for schools and students is essential to attracting and retaining skilled, compassionate leaders and educators.

"Aron is coming in at a time when we can now continue working on our primary focus, which is academics and programming," board President Mary Beth Hulting said Wednesday.

"The last two years have been ones of tremendous trials and setbacks, not only due to COVID but the political divide on masking, diversity, equity and books among other issues," she added.

Hubbard's announcement in May stunned the school board, which said "polarized and politicized" attitudes in public education, including District 34, contributed to his decision.

Public forums devolved into "disparaging and unwarranted personal attacks and falsehoods" that were amplified on social media, the board said at the time.

Hulting said the district needs to prioritize building relationships to improve student opportunities. She described Borowiak as "a passionate and hardworking leader" who will collaborate with students and stakeholders.

"We all look forward to a positive start to the school year and making Antioch 34 one of the best places for students to learn, thrive and grow," she said.

During his three years as superintendent at Union County College Corner, Borowiak developed a comprehensive data system for curriculum analysis and a new preschool program, added a high school bank and financial literacy program, and implemented a one-to-one device program for all students.

A native of downstate Albion, east of St. Louis, Borowiak previously was an assistant principal, principal and director of curriculum and instruction at school districts in Wanatah, Griffith and Valparaiso, Indiana.

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