Dr. James
Akron Public Schools Superintendent David W. James is the 22nd chief executive of the Akron school system. He oversees roughly 20,000 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 renovation and consolidation project in the history of the Akron schools. Nearly completed, the $800 million endeavor 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 31 new CLCs have also modernized and helped solidify neighborhoods throughout Akron.

Mr. James, his staff and key community partners have successfully worked with Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) to have Akron Public Schools designated as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community. Adopting the Ford NGL framework will help the district transition all high schools into college and career academies. Schools will now offer a smaller, more focused learning environment; and students will select a college and career path similar to selecting a major in college.

Also groundbreaking is the dual-degree program David James has made available to students. This gives them a leg up on college by taking both high school and college courses and receiving both a diploma and a two-year college degree upon graduation from high school. This program is offered as part of the curriculum now throughout APS, at our Akron Early College High School on the campus of The University of Akron and through a partnership with Stark State College.

Innovative Partnerships
Leadership from David James has leveraged the effective Akron After School collaboration into a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation to offer LeBron's I Promise and the Wheels for Education programs for students, encouraging them to work hard, achieve and graduate.

Taking this partnership with LeBron James to the next level, the district and the foundation forged an agreement to create the I Promise School. Work on the school is underway.

The Right Stuff
David James earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and his master’s degree from Cleveland State University, in public administration.

David is the 2017 recipient of the Ohio Superintendent Outstanding Performance Award from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and -- in 2017 -- received the Glass Half Full Award from the GAR Foundation. The Glass Half Full Award honors leaders for their inspiring and optimistic guidance of nonprofit organizations.

Mr. James is president (2017-18) of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, a Leadership Akron graduate and a recipient of the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award in Education (2007).

His Community
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:

  • Buckeye Association of School Administrators, President
  • Ohio 8 Coalition
  • Project GRAD Akron
  • Summit Education Initiative
  • United Way of Summit County

Learn more at

State-of-the-Schools Speech

David James delivered his 2018 State-of-the-Schools speech at Tangier Restaurant on February 13, 2018. The following information is available to the public.

  • David James' 2018 State-of-the-Schools speech (full-text download below)
  • 2018 State-of-the-Schools brochure (download below)
  • Facts and Stats rack card (download below)
  • State report card

Community Connect E-Newsletter

Keep up with the Superintendent's monthly e-newsletter to the community; download the latest issue here.

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