Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools Superintendent Bonnie Hopkins announced her retirement during the April 15, 2020, regular Board of Education meeting effective at the end of the year (December 31, 2020). Hopkins has been with the career-technical school district for 33 years, including the past 11 as superintendent.
Hopkins, whose contract ends July 31, 2020, had a new contract approved during the Board meeting from August 1, 2020-December 31, 2020. The Board accepted her resignation for the purposes of retirement effective January 1, 2021.
“I was personally shocked and saddened for the students in our district when I learned of Superintendent Hopkins’ retirement request at the board meeting,” said Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools Board President Bill McGowan, who represents Teays Valley Local Schools. “She has been a great superintendent to work with these past 11 years and she has always put the school and the students first in all of her decisions. She has exhibited great vision moving the career centers into the 21st century with the classes that we offer our students for the best chance to succeed. It will be extremely difficult for the Board to find someone to take over that role. I wish her all of the best in her retirement but I will miss having her sit next to me at the board meetings.”
Hopkins worked as a dental hygienist for 14 years before becoming a dental assistant instructor at Eastland Career Center in 1987. She then held administrative roles as both supervisor and assistant director at Eastland and director at Fairfield Career Center before being named the district’s superintendent in 2009.
“I could never have dreamed when I called to inquire about a Dental Assisting Instructor position in May of 1987, what thirty-three years later would look like,” offered Hopkins. “I consider myself undeservingly blessed and deeply honored to have found my true passion and have my career aspirations unfold in the wonderful family of Eastland-Fairfield. I have loved my job and the people who have been part of it. I have promised the Board to assist in the transition in any way deemed helpful by them and the new superintendent. I will always be an advocate and a friend.”
During her tenure as superintendent, Hopkins oversaw a period of growth for Ohio’s seventh-largest career and technical district geographically. The district serves 16 school districts in Franklin, Fairfield, and Pickaway counties and includes a comprehensive Adult Workforce Education division. With more than 1,700 high school and 2,000 adult students being served each year, Hopkins has spent her 11 years overseeing building projects, renovations, and expansion in programs and services to meet the needs of the central Ohio region.
Some of her accomplishments include:
- Renovation of the Health Technology and Health & Recreation Services programs and the addition of square footage for the additional programs of Dental Assisting and Criminal Justice at the Fairfield Career Center campus in 2009-2010;
- In 2010, signed an agreement with the Gahanna-Jefferson School District to occupy 8,000 square feet of the first floor of their new building – Clark Hall. Today, Eastland-Fairfield has three programs in Clark Hall: Architecture/Construction Management, Bioscience, and Teaching Professions.
- In 2014, oversaw the renovation of the Culinary Arts facilities at the Eastland Career Center campus;
- In February 2020, the Board approved the construction of an engineering technologies facility on the Eastland Career Center campus. The facility will be approximately 43,000 square feet and have space included for the integration of advanced manufacturing skills and will include Welding, CNC, Plastics Production, Pneumatics/Controls/Robotics, and Aviation. The facility will also have a computer lab for computer-based testing and assessments and a conference area for regional meetings of business partners and associate districts.
“Bonnie has a passion for career-technical education,” noted Dawn Lemley, treasurer at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools. “More importantly, she has shown such great compassion for our staff, business partners, associate schools, the community, and thousands of students during her 33 years with the district.”
The Board of Education will announce plans for the search for Hopkins’ replacement in the coming weeks.