Akron Public Schools Superintendent David W. James is the 22nd chief executive of the Akron school system. He oversees roughly 21,000 pupils, 3,000 employees and operations of more than 50 school buildings.
The Akron Board of Education selected Mr. James in August 2008 to lead the public school system through what would be a period of great transition.
New Environment for Learning
Among David James’ most significant responsibilities and achievements continues to be overseeing the largest building and renovation project in the 166-year history of the Akron schools. About 75% completed, the $800 million endeavor, when done, will have converted all of Akron’s school buildings into community learning centers -- schools by day, community learning centers (CLCs) for residents during evenings and weekends. The 30 new CLCs have also modernized and helped solidify neighborhoods throughout the 62 square miles that comprise Akron.
Now included in the learning landscape, under David James’ leadership, are the National Inventors Hall of Fame® STEM middle and high schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Mr. James has also given students a leg up on college with the dual enrollment program agreement with Stark State College, the Innovation Generation Scholarship Program and the requirement that ACT testing for college entrance begins in students’ junior year so they may take the test twice. (Learn more about these and other opportunities by visiting www.akronschools.com.)
Part of being an innovator is working smarter. David James has developed deficit reduction plans to keep pace with an often-uncertain economy and significant changes in state funding to public education.
As superintendent, Mr. James has worked diligently on community and business partnerships to benefit Akron students. The building project is done by virtue of a one-of-a-kind partnership with the City of Akron.
David’s leadership has brought an expansion of the innovative -- and nationally recognized -- Akron After School program, also in partnership with the City of Akron.
He has also leveraged the After School collaboration into a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation to offer the Wheels for Education Program for kids, encouraging them to work hard, achieve and graduate.
Student and employee safety are his most vital concerns. David James continues to foster a strong relationship with the Akron Police Department in providing School Resource Officers to 17 middle and high schools.
The Right Stuff
His depth of experience prior to being selected as superintendent of Akron Public Schools makes Mr. James uniquely qualified to lead. Beginning in 1992 with APS, David James was an environmental program manager and the energy, environmental health and safety manager.
In 2002, he was selected to become executive director for business affairs, responsible for managing support operations including: maintenance; custodial; grounds; purchasing; warehousing; distribution; food service; energy, environmental, health and safety management; and telecommunications and information technology.
David James has his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and his master’s degree, from Cleveland State University, in public administration.
He is also a graduate of Leadership Akron and the 2007 recipient of the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award in Education.
Those who talk to David James will often hear him say, “Education is everyone’s responsibility. Build the future. Take part.”
He spreads this message to the many boards on which he serves, including:
- Summit Education Initiative
- University Park Alliance, Chair
- Summit Forum
- First Things First
- Project GRAD Akron
- Leadership Akron
- Akron Tomorrow
- Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Executive Committee
- Ohio 8 (Ohio’s eight largest cities) Coalition
David and Jeanetta, his wife, live in Akron with their two children, one of whom attends Akron Public Schools.
David James delivered his 2016 State-of-the-Schools speech at the Akron Press Club luncheon on February 23. We are making the following information available to the public.
- David James' 2016 State-of-the-Schools speech (Full-text download)
- 2016 State-of-the-Schools brochure (download)
- Schools of Promise (download)
- Akron Early College - Blue Ribbon School (download)
- State report card
Community Connect E-Newsletter
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