About Dr. Thompson

John Thompson

John Thompson began serving as the superintendent of the New Haven Unified School District in July of 2019. Prior to working in New Haven, Dr. Thompson served as an assistant superintendent in the San Leandro Unified School District for nine years where he was primarily in charge of human resources. Before coming to San Leandro, Dr. Thompson worked in the South San Francisco Unified School District for 16 years where he was a high school teacher, high school assistant principal, elementary principal, and assistant/associate superintendent.

With over two decades of public education service, Dr. Thompson has experience leading work in many areas of education including curriculum development, student services, special education, human resources, and labor relations. He also has led and implemented school bond related design teams and construction projects.

Dr. Thompson's educational background includes a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master's degree in educational leadership from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of San Francisco. He is also credentialed to teach biology and general science.

Superintendent’s Message

Fall 2021

Dear Students, Parents, and Community Members:

Welcome to a new school year!

After a year of seeing mostly empty school sites and visiting classrooms using Zoom, I am excited that our students and staff members will be returning to our schools this fall. While we don’t know exactly what will happen during this school year, we will have a lot of support and services available at our school sites for staff and students as we transition back to having students in our classrooms.

The pandemic did not stop our work toward achieving the goals of our strategic plan. A lot of progress was made in all goal areas that will benefit our students, staff, and families. A strategic plan update presentation was given at our June 1 board meeting that shared many of our accomplishments. We will enter year two of our three-year strategic plan during the 2021-22 school year, and we will remain focused on the following goals:

Goal 1: College, Career, and Life Readiness Through Teaching and Learning

Goal 2: Equity, Access, and Achievement

Goal 3: Effective Employee Relations and a Collaborative District Culture

Goal 4: Community Outreach, Engagement, and Advocacy

Goal 5: Effective Resource Management and Operational Sustainability

Our successes last year, both related to our strategic plan and to surviving a year of distance learning, are due to the support and commitment that we have from our students, family, staff, and community members. This support is what makes our district a special place, and continues to make it a great place for our students.


John Thompson, Ed.D.

Fall 2020

Dear New Haven Families, Staff, and Community,

As we start the school year in this unprecedented manner, it saddens me to walk through our school sites and not see our students, staff, and parents. I can’t wait for the time when we will be able to conduct classes on campus again. Until then, we are fully invested in making the distance learning experience the best it can be for everyone. This doesn’t mean it will be perfect – it won’t be: we are making decisions quickly, implementing new programs without enough time or training, and challenging our educational infrastructure in ways that were unimaginable just several months ago. Because of these factors, there will be mistakes, unanticipated problems, and struggles for all of our district stakeholders.

Along with these problems also come opportunities. As we are making decisions, we are keeping the long term, post-COVID future in mind. For example, we selected Canvas as the learning management system for our middle and high school students because we believe that this program will benefit our staff and students well into the future. The same is true for our Personalized Learning Academy. We see this as a program that will continue to be a viable educational alternative for our students for years to come.

While we deal with the pandemic, we are also moving firmly ahead with our plans to keep the NHUSD as one of the best districts in the Bay Area. This work is anchored in the Strategic Action Plan that the NHUSD Board of Education adopted in December 2019.
The five goals in this plan are:

  1. College, Career, and Life Readiness Through Teaching and Learning
    All students will graduate prepared for college, career, and life where every student can choose how to become productive, responsible and successful global citizens.
  2. Equity, Access, and Achievement
    All students will thrive academically and emotionally in a rich, diverse environment that is rooted in equity and supports wellness and socio-emotional learning.
  3. Effective Employee Relations and a Collaborative District Culture
    All staff are collaborative, valued, and engaged partners in providing our students with
    equitable and positive experiences and outcomes.
  4. Community Outreach, Engagement, and Advocacy
    Families and community members are engaged and informed partners in our students’ educational experiences and outcomes.
  5. Effective Resource Management and Operational Sustainability
    Resources, facilities, and technology are used equitably and sustainably to provide
    optimal learning environments for all students.

These goals were created from input gathered from students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members. I believe that they are even more relevant and important now as we navigate through the current pandemic. By continuing to focus our work around these goals, we will be able to emerge from this crisis well positioned to move our district forward.

John Thompson, Ed.D.

Fall 2019

Dear New Haven Families, Staff, and Community,

I am excited about the upcoming school year and feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help lead our district. Having lived and worked in nearby East Bay communities for over two decades, I was well aware of the reputation and storied accomplishments of the New Haven Unified School District before coming to our district. During my first few weeks on the job, I have met with many people and groups that represent various district stakeholders. My meetings have validated that there are great things happening in our district, and I continue to be amazed at the number of students, staff, families and community members that are dedicated to our schools and community.

The ending of the 2018-19 school year was unfortunately stressful and chaotic for all of our students, families and staff members due to the prolonged teacher strike. As we transition to the new school year, it is important that we take time to think about all of the accomplishments, great work, and important relationships that were and continue to be present in our district. This will help us move past the events that occurred at the end of the last school year, and to move forward together into the new school year.

At the district level, we are very focused on making sure that we are ready to welcome our students and families back to school on August 21. We have been consulting with NHTA and CSEA leadership to make sure we are providing our staff with the time and resources they need to ensure that we have a great start to the year.

For those who are interested, we will be hosting a “meet and greet” event where families, community members, and staff members can come to meet me, ask questions, and learn more about how we are preparing for the upcoming school year. This event will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at James Logan High School on Wednesday, August 14.

I am looking forward to this event as well as to the start of the 2019-20 school year.

John Thompson, Ed.D.