Superintendent’s Unconventional Approach Paying Off for His District

Steve Thompson is making bold moves in his Ohio district

by Dr. Rod Berger

Steve Thompson is not happy to just cruise along doing things the way they have always been done. The superintendent of Willoughby-Eastlake Schools in Ohio has made several bold moves over the years, moves many other superintendents and districts would dismiss as impossible.

A few years ago, Steve noticed a building for sale in the community that happened to be the former headquarters of the power management company, Eaton. The district bought it for $3.8 million, which included all the state of the art technology inside the building, and opened a STEM and technology focused campus called the School of Innovation. The school has been wildly successful with extremely high levels of student engagement and off-the-charts results. Architects have projected that it would have cost the district $27 million to build the school from the ground up.

After acquiring the power management building, Thompson initiated the purchase of an old car dealership and opened a school called the Success Academy that focuses on trades such as auto collision repair, auto repair business technologies, welding, and cosmetology. The school has done wonders for a population of students who were previously uninterested in school and headed toward dropping out.

It’s this kind of leadership that has taken the district from having an $87-million-dollar deficit in 2011 to now having cash reserves projected through 2022. The highly impactful moves sparked by Steve Thompson are paying off and providing a bright future for the families of the Ohio district.

About Steve Thompson:

Steve ThompsonSteve Thompson has been the Superintendent at Willoughby-Eastlake Schools in Ohio since August of 2011. Prior to this position, he served as Superintendent of Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools from 2007 to 2011, and Superintendent of West Liberty Salem Local Schools for six years prior to Chagrin Falls.

Steve holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from Heidelberg College and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Toledo.

Follow Steve Thompson on Twitter.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Dr. Rod Berger.

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