HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s almost time to go back to school, and some local districts will have new leadership to start the school year.

Hilliard is one, welcoming a new superintendent who happens to be a familiar face.

David Stewart used to be a principal and a teacher in the Hilliard City School District, so for him, this school year will be like coming home.

He’s making his return after serving as deputy superintendent for eight years with South-Western City School District.

“It’s amazing how many things are familiar and people, but also how much has changed in eight years,” Stewart said.

He spent time in the district as the principal at Darby High School and helped open Bradley High School in 2009. Now, Stewart returns as the district’s superintendent.

“I will spend an awful a lot of time here in the next couple of months traveling from building to building, meeting with principals and meeting with teaching staffs, meeting with different booster groups and things like that,” he said.

Stewart said his focus will be purely on providing a stable and calm environment for students and parents after a tumultuous year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say what every educator – probably everybody is thinking – that we’d love to see is getting back to what life was like before the pandemic,” Stewart said.

This week, he’s focusing on new teachers, some of whom were his former students, and that they’re prepared with enough educators to kick off the school year.

“There are 136 of them, so it was a large group,” Stewart said. “It was great to see them. It was great to be in front of people again, talking about the exciting things that go on in this district. Our message to them was about the culture of this district and what makes this place so special.”

Hilliard is one of the districts that is still working on some of their return to school policies like masking. Students return Aug. 19. Stewart said he hopes to be able to announce more on that soon.

The next school board meeting is Aug. 9.