Thomas R. Bollin                 Inducted 2000 - Class of 1959

Tom Bollin's journey from being Woodward student to being an accomplished educator/administrator could be described as "coming full circle." The roots and inspiration for his success were at Woodward. Now, Tom's achievements are a shining example and inspiration for today's students. Tom attended Riverside Elementary School. He lived on Ontario Street, between Galena and Chicago. "It was a stable neighborhood, where everyone knew each other."

Tom's best friends while at Woodward were Steve Worshtil, Fred Janiszewski, Maxine Drees, Gloria Carson and Jerry Pajak. The highlights of his high school years include the "chaos and achievement" of Guys and Dolls, one of the WHS renowned musical productions. "It was a supreme success in student management of a creative effort. Our total budget couldn't have exceeded $100-$200, so we had to 'beg, borrow and steal' to stage the show. It was very hard work and incredible fun."

Tom's outstanding success in the field of education was inspired by a number of favorite WHS

faculty and staff members. "Marilyn Walchuk opened her home, which was right across from WHS, for evening preparation for speech contests. She provided some focus for me during my freshman and sophomore years. Belle Joseph tried to teach me math for three years. I was never a very good math student, but she kept trying. I learned patience from her, as well as respect, the power of quiet persistence and focused goodwill. Lew Cross was my first social studies teacher, and he was a good one. He was a consistent advisor throughout high school. He later hired me as a teacher when he was Principal of DeVilbiss High School. Jim Henahan took his subject matter seriously, taught it interestingly, and opened his home to several of us for dinners. Yet he never lost sight of students’ needs to be involved in many other subjects and activities. Jim taught me how to bring balance into my young life. Principal Robert Rettig opened so many doors for me that I can't name them all. I know it was he that saw to it that I got the Henry Page Scholarship that put me through the University of Toledo. When I look back at my family's income in those days, I'm not sure I'd been able to do it without this help. Mr. Rettig also found a way for me to have free time to conduct Student Council business and work on the school musical; led the charge to get me into the Honor Society my senior year; and was behind my being awarded the Max Davis watch."

The individual who had the most profound effect on Tom was Sam Szor. "Sam was so much more than a Band Director. He profoundly influenced my life through his daily speeches in Band about excellence, creativity, and all aspects of the arts. Sam showed all of us how to work hard if we wanted to make an impact. We all became part of something important when we joined his band, and we would be changed for the better as people for having had the experience. Sam has remained a dear friend over the years. I was his announcer for twenty years at his summer zoo concerts and stood up for him and Judy at their wedding." Ironically, Sam Szor is also being inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight.

After graduating from WHS, Tom attended the University of Toledo. He received his Bachelor of Education degree in 1963; Masters of Education in 1976;and Education Specialist certification in 1977.

Tom began his career at Perrysburg Public Schools, where he was a teacher for two years. He was an employee of Toledo Public Schools from 1965-1989, where he served as a teacher and in a number of administrative positions: Assistant Principal; Principal; Executive Director of Elementary Education; Assistant Superintendent of Personnel; and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Administrative Personnel. Tom left Toledo in 1989 to become the Superintendent of Lorain City Schools, (Ohio). Since 1995, he has been Superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools in Minnesota. Tom has also taught on the college level, as an Adjunct Faculty member at The University of Toledo, University of Ashland, and Cleveland State University. Tom retired on December 31, 1999 and plans to start a consulting business.

Tom prides himself on his many accomplishments in Toledo education. He developed a master plan for the integration of technology into the curriculum. He provided administrative leadership for Toledo's Career Ladder and nationally known Teacher Intern programs. Tom developed a plan for closing ten schools, while at the same time improving racial balance. Tom was instrumental in helping pass school operating levies. He chaired the campaign in 1982 and served on the steering committee for levies in 1977, 1980, 1984, and 1987 . . . each of which was successful. Tom positioned TPS as the authority on curriculum in northwest Ohio through adoption and promotion of such initiatives as Writing to Read, Writing Across the Curriculum, Toledo Area Writing Project, and a Human Growth and Development Curriculum (Sex Education) for grades K-12.

Both the Toledo Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa and the Ohio Parent Teacher Association have honored Tom as "Educator of the Year." The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation identified him as a Jennings Scholar. Tom published "Beyond Strategic Planning: Tailoring District Resources to Needs" in 1991 with Douglas C. Eadie. The article appeared in The School Administrator. He was also chosen to participate in the "Bush Educators Program" in Minnesota, a three-year fellowship focusing on leadership and taught by faculty from prominent universities.

Tom has been a member of countless professional and community organizations in Ohio and Minnesota-too numerous to list. He has been president of the Toledo Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa; Director of Metro 2, an educational technology consortium in Minnesota; on the Board of Directors for Lake Erie Educational Computer Association, Center for Leadership in Education, Child and Family Council(Lorain, Ohio), and the Palace Civic Center; Trustee for Junior Achievement of Lorain; and the North Memorial Medical Center in Minnesota. Tom was a councilman for the City of Perrysburg. Locally, he has served as Program Coordinator of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerts and was a member of the Allocations Committee for United Way of Northwest Ohio.

Tom currently lives in Plymouth, Minnesota. He was formerly married to Connie Stearns (WHS Class of 1962). They have two children, Buffy Elizabeth and Kip Thomas. Kip is married to Catherine. "They presented me with my first grandchild, Emily Elizabeth, in May, 1999."

Tom loves to travel. "I have traveled extensively in the United States and Western Europe and just completed my first trip to Asia, visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam." Tom has taken up the hobby of photography, primarily as a result of his travels. He also has an extensive collection of CD's "primarily of jazz and classical music, but eclectic enough to include more than forty pop discs. “Tom also collects original and signed, numbered art prints, as well as glass art. The Hall of Fame award, a unique sculpture made of glass, should be a welcome addition to Tom's collection.

When asked to describe his reaction to being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Tom responded: "I am flattered to be recognized in the WHS Hall of Fame. I have spent my professional life in education and, since Woodward started it all, it is thrilling to be honored at home!" Tom-we welcome you home and congratulate you!

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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