Superintendent to retire in 2024

Bloomfield Superintendent of Schools Thompson to Retire in 2024
Posted on 06/02/2023
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Dr. James Thompson Jr., a widely respected education leader in Connecticut, is retiring in 2024, completing 55 years in education - the last 13 as Bloomfield’s Superintendent of Schools.

Pic of James Thompson

In a June 1 letter to staff and families Thompson said: “I leave here in great health and good spirits – and in knowing there is a palpable ‘growth mindset’ culture now embedded among our school leaders and within our schools.” 

He noted that the launch last year of new academic programs will transform the quality of Pre-K to 12 education in Bloomfield for future generations.
In the last year, the district has: 

Implemented a new pre-K program at Laurel Elementary School. A new Literacy Academy is also in the works at Laurel.

Developed strategies that have Grade 3 students reading at levels above the state average.

Launched a new Talented and Gifted program – known as SOAR - for those in grades 4 through 8.

Enhanced college-and-career readiness program at the high school.

Thompson, the 2017 Connecticut Superintendent of Year, worked for Hartford Public Schools most of professional career as a teacher, vice principal, principal and assistant superintendent. As principal at Simpson Waverly School in 2003, he led education-reform efforts there that earned national recognition when it was selected as a ‘Blue Ribbon’ school because of its success in improving the academic performance of children from impoverished neighborhoods.
Eight years into Thompson’s tenure at Bloomfield, the district was recognized statewide – and nationally - for what was called the “Bloomfield Blueprint” – a strategy that raised the high school graduation rate 16-percentage points from 76% to over 90%, and garnered double-digit increases in SAT scores.

Known for his even-temperament, humble demeanor and an ability to empower collaborative teams, Thompson established a reputation as someone who was respectful, reasonable and responsive.

Bloomfield Board of Education Chairman Donald F. Harris Jr. has known Thompson for a little over 60 years. They met when Harris was attending Bloomfield High School as a teen and Thompson was a student at Hartford Public High School.

Harris described his friend and colleague as an “extraordinary educator.”

“He is a visionary and recognized by everyone in the State of Connecticut as a great education leader and mentor, as evidenced by his selection as Connecticut’s Superintendent of the Year in 2019,” Harris said. “James has kept Bloomfield’s school system moving forward, despite opposition from some community members. He has always put children as the number one priority. In doing so, he made it a distinct pleasure to serve as a board member.’’
Frances Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public Schools Superintendents (CAPPS), said Thompson is the consummate education leader and professional.

“He is a man of integrity, deep knowledge, and someone with multifaceted experience,” she said. “James has the courage to always do what is right for our children. He is someone I turn to for his perspective on educational issues. I wish him a well-deserved retirement, but something tells me that – thankfully -- he will always be active in our profession.’’

An avid cyclist and nutrition buff, who usually starts his day at 5:30 a.m. with prayer, meditation and a bicycle ride, Thompson said he is looking forward to the respite that retirement allows.  “I plan to spend my time volunteering in activities at my church and in the community, traveling, mentoring - and exercising,” Thompson said. “I would also like to challenge myself by training for some ‘Century’ bicycle events where the bike route is a 100-mile journey.”
Asked why he chose to retire now, Thompson said simply: “The time is right. We put some important academic pieces in place last year. This district is poised for significant growth over the next several years. It has been my great privilege to play a leadership role in the Bloomfield community as the Superintendent of Schools.”
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