Dr. David James is a pre-eminent leader in education. He is best known in Akron for his 13-year stint serving as Superintendent of Akron Public Schools (APS). During his tenure, David led a one-of-a-kind partnership between the City of Akron and the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, through which all APS buildings were rebuilt or substantially renovated. He also brought the College and Career Academies experiential learning model to Akron, transforming the entire educational experience for all students.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, he took on a role as Deputy Superintendent of Operations at Columbus City Schools when he retired from APS in 2021. During his time in Columbus, he oversaw the development of the largest building renovation and consolidation project in the history of the Columbus City Schools.

In January of 2023, David returned home after being named the Executive Director of Summit Education Initiative (SEI). SEI serves all schools in Summit County, working to increase the educational attainment of individuals and their families. The group uses data and analysis to inform the education community on how to reach its goals, from increasing kindergarten readiness to raising third grade reading levels and graduation rates.

David earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics and his Master’s in public administration from Cleveland State University. He earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Phoenix. He is the recipient of many awards, including the 2019 Leadership Akron Lieberth Community Vision Award, the 2019 Values in Action, Sam Miller Goodness Award, the 2017 Ohio Superintendent Outstanding Performance Award from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and the GAR Foundation Glass Half Full Award (2017).

Believe it or not: Dr. James is an accomplished chef who still contends that he was cheated out off first place at the Project GRAD Cooking for a Cause fundraiser in 2016.