Ex-Antioch superintendent who left a year early hired as new Wheeling High principal

On the heels of his early departure as superintendent of Antioch Elementary District 34, Bradford Hubbard has been named the new principal of Wheeling High School.

It marks a return to the high school hallways for Hubbard, who previously worked as a principal, assistant principal, dean of students and teacher at high schools throughout the North suburbs. He started his career two decades ago as a science teacher at Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Chicago.

He spent the last two years as top administrator in District 34, overseeing a prekindergarten through 8th grade system of five schools and 2,700 students, and where pandemic-related controversies like in-person versus remote learning and mask mandates dominated divisive school board meetings.

Hubbard had a year left on his three-year contract when he stepped down effective June 30.

In a May 2 resignation letter, Hubbard didn't specify what led to his departure, but the school board cited an increasingly “polarized and politicized” attitude, in public education in general and District 34 specifically, as a factor.

“Unfortunately, lately, public forums designed to encourage discussion about important matters facing our district have too often devolved into disparaging and unwarranted personal attacks and falsehoods that have also been amplified on social media,” the board said in a statement. “There can be little doubt that this contributed to Dr. Hubbard's decision to leave Antioch 34.”

On Tuesday. Hubbard's new employer, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, released a new statement on his behalf, upon his hiring to the $195,000-a-year Wheeling principalship.

“While I genuinely enjoyed leading and have been honored to serve a preK-8th grade school district, I also have been looking for an opportunity to get back into a high school building to work directly with students and staff,” Hubbard said. “I can't imagine a better place to do that than at Wheeling High School. I can't wait to start work with the Wheeling team and to welcome Wheeling students back for a great new school year. I am humbled by this chance to both serve and lead.”

Wheeling Associate Principal for Student Services Don Wesemann, who was on the principal search committee, said the panel met its objective of hiring an individual “who will value the school's culture, the community and support systems in ways that benefit our students, staff, and set the foundation for their success.”

Before his hiring in District 34, Hubbard spent nearly three years as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Antioch Community High School District 117, and four years as principal at Antioch High School. He also was an assistant principal at Woodstock High School, and dean of students and teacher at Highland Park High School.

The District 214 school board unanimously approved Hubbard's hiring late last week, while appointing current Principal Jerry Cook as the district's new director of operations. The $197,013-a-year role — held since 2019 by Ken Roiland, who is retiring — includes oversight of buildings and grounds throughout the district.

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