David W. James named recipient of 2019 Lieberth Community Vision Award
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Akron, OH – Leadership Akron has named David W. James, Superintendent of Akron Public Schools (APS), as the recipient of this year’s Lieberth Community Vision Award. The first Lieberth Community Vision Award was named for and presented to Mr. David Lieberth, a founder of Leadership Akron, in recognition of his outstanding community service and leadership.
James was selected for this award because of his significant contributions to the Akron Public School system, positively impacting the Akron community. James is the 22nd chief executive of the Akron school system, overseeing roughly 20,000 pupils, 3,000 employees and operations of more than 40 school buildings. He continues to oversee the largest building renovation and consolidation project in the history of the Akron schools. Upon completion, the $800 million endeavor will have converted nearly all Akron school buildings into modern, safe community learning centers.
Along with his staff and community partners, James has successfully developed key programs to prepare high school students for career success following graduation. The district is transitioning all high schools into College & Career Academies of Akron (C&CAA), offering a smaller, more focused learning environment, where students select a college and career path similar to selecting a major in college. James is also heading the groundbreaking dual degree program giving students 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. Most recently, leadership from David James has led to a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) to create the I PROMISE School targeting at-risk third graders who have fallen behind their peers, which opened in July 2018. The I PROMISE School has brought international attention to Akron as a result of this partnership.
David James earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and his master’s degree from Cleveland State University in public administration. James is the 2017 recipient of both the Ohio Superintendent Outstanding Performance Award from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and the Glass Half Full Award from GAR Foundation, honoring leaders for their inspiring and optimistic guidance of nonprofit organizations.
In the Akron community, James was president (2017-18) of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. He received the Community Service Award from Project GRAD in 2017 and an Honorary Alumni Award from The University of Akron in 2013. He is a graduate of Leadership Akron Signature Class 24, and the 2007 recipient of the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award in Education.
“David James has made significant impact on the Akron Public School system, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for success for students of all ages K-12,” said Barry Dunaway, president of Leadership Akron. “We are honored to present Mr. James with this award. He exemplifies community-centered leadership, which puts aside individual agendas and always looks at opportunities, challenges, and issues through the lens of the entire community. “
James will receive his award during the Lieberth Community Vision Award Breakfast at 7:30am on November 14, 2019 at the John S. Knight Center.
For over 35 years, Leadership Akron has equipped participants for community involvement and leadership. Through a variety of experiences, Leadership Akron serves over 300 leaders each year with experiences that increase their community awareness and involvement. For more information on Leadership Akron, visit their website at leadershipakron.org.