Willoughby-Eastlake Schools Superintendent Steve Thompson reflects on the positive changes in the district over the last decade


By Patricia Nugent

As Willoughby-Eastlake Schools Superintendent Steve Thompson leaves the district after 11 years, it’s a good time to reflect on the impact his leadership has had on the lives of the students.

“It has been an honor to work in Willoughby-Eastlake,” he says. “Together with the staff, students and members of the community, we have laid the groundwork in several areas and left the district in a better place than it was 10 years ago.”

Under his watch, the system’s fiscal picture turned around dramatically. Back in 2012, the district was in a deficit of $87.9 million and on the brink of state receivership. The current forecast reported to the state shows a positive cash balance of more than $30 million.

When asked which accomplishments he is most proud of, Superintendent Thompson mentions the expansion of educational opportunities such as the School of Innovation, Northern Career Institute, The Mobile Fab Lab and fabrication labs in the schools, 1:1 technology and the Success Academy.

“We also improved facilities, including three new schools: South High, North High and Longfellow Elementary, as well as converted buildings to a district school or office building: The Board of Education building, the School of Innovation and NCI Willoughby,” he adds.

A hallmark of the past several years is the formation of key partnerships to open doors of opportunity for students, including Lake Hospital System, Serpentini Chevrolet, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Cardinal Credit Union, the YMCA and the Willoughby Senior Center.

New safety procedures and the installation of cameras, bullpens, MARCS radios, Raptor systems and 3-M safety film to slow intruders boosted the schools’ state of security to a safer level.

“I am confident these changes will facilitate the district’s continued growth under the leadership of a new superintendent,” he concludes. “I wish Willoughby-Eastlake continued success.”

Let me join many others in saying best of luck to Superintendent Thompson in his new job as the Chief Operations Officer in Akron Public Schools.

Two words, sir: Well done.

Look for these monthly stories to cover topics from grades K-12 in the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools System. Find out more at WESchools.org.