Dr. Jim Thornton joined Isle of Wight County Schools as Division Superintendent in July 2015. Thornton has 13 years of experience as a superintendent, previously serving as the superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools (VA), a position he held since 2010. With more than 25 years of experience in education, he began his educational career as a teacher then later moved up the administrative ranks an athletic director, assistant principal, principal, and an assistant superintendent.
He received the Jefferson Professional Achievement Alumni Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership from Longwood University in 2011. In 2008, he was presented the Cumberland Branch NAACP Community Service Award. Thornton also received the Region 8 Superintendent of the year award from the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and the Longwood University, College of Education and Human Services, 2007 Professional Who Made A Difference Award.
Thornton earned his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy from Virginia Tech, Master of Education in Supervision & Administration from Virginia State University, and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Longwood University. He and his wife Mary have two children, a son Sean who lives in Virginia Beach and a daughter Kelsey who attends Virginia Tech.
Under his leadership, the division has implemented a project-based learning approach, with a focus on the 5 C's (communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, citizenship). Schools are hosting Expos of Student Learning where students share their projects with the community. The division is also implementing new programs and spaces to ensure all children are college, career and life ready.