The search for Huntley School District 158′s new top official is set to begin after current Superintendent Scott Rowe announced Thursday that he is leaving the district.
Rowe, 42, is leaving to become superintendent at Arlington Heights-based Northwest Suburban High School District 214. It is the state’s second-largest high school district.
The District 214 board Thursday night named Rowe as its new leader, voting 6-0 on a four-year, $280,000-a-year contract that starts July 1 and will keep him in the role through June 30, 2027.
Rowe has served as District 158′s superintendent since 2018 but has worked in the district dating back to 2011, serving as principal of Marlowe Middle School and Huntley High School.
Before coming to District 158, he served as an assistant principal and teacher across both McHenry Elementary School District 15 and McHenry High School District 156, as well as Knob Noster High School in Missouri.
A native of Charleston, Missouri, Rowe holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Missouri State University and master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership from Aurora University.
During his tenure as superintendent in District 158, he oversaw processes for strategic and equity plans and capital improvements, and helped implement a blended learning program of in-person and online coursework. He also guided the district through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to families and the community Thursday night after the announcement of his new role, he said leaving the district is “bittersweet” and working at the district for the past 12 years was “more of a blessing than a chore.”
“Our students, staff and the entire community have left a lasting impact on me, one that is evident in the work we have been able to accomplish over the past several years as partners in education,” he said in the letter.
With Rowe’s leaving, the district now will turn to finding his replacement and appointing an interim superintendent for the 2023-24 school year, Rowe said in the letter.
Michael Thompson, one of the four candidates for District 158′s school board who is leading the unofficial vote totals, said he thinks the new role sounds like a great opportunity for Rowe.
Thompson was part of a slate of four candidates who ran on a campaign of making key changes to the district based on curriculum and grades as well as finances. All four are on track to gain a seat, meaning the four incumbents running would be ousted.
Despite the slate of candidates at various times criticizing both Rowe and the direction the district was going, Thompson said he wanted to put the political rhetoric to bed.
Looking ahead, Thompson said he wants to look for someone who can help the district’s academic performance and has experience dealing with the issues the district faces so they can “hit the ground running.”
He emphasized the need to work as a team to do this.
“There’s no sense in digging up the past at this point,” Thompson said. “I think it’s going to be important to find someone who aligns with the values we ran on.”