As his last day on the job looms, retiring Springfield Superintendent David Estrop was surprised with an announcement that a portion of the new Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Center will be named for him.
The Dr. David C. Estrop Professional Learning Suite will be an area of the center dedicated to teacher development and ongoing education, school leaders said.
The CareerConnectED Center will open in August in the former Springfield South High School thanks to an $11.3 million state Straight A grant, which Estrop helped champion during his time with the district.
“The board really wanted to honor Dave for his service,” said Kim Fish, Springfield City School District communications consultant and a leader on the Straight A grant. “And he’s been so passionate about bringing South back online.”
The professional development portion of the center seemed like the ideal fit, Fish said, because of Estrop’s dedication to training the best teachers.
“Dave’s so committed to keeping the way we do teacher training modern,” she said.
Estrop called the honor, “about as good as it gets.” He’s touched to have his name associated with what will be a center of groundbreaking research in educational and instructional methodology, he said.
The learning suite will be where teachers can come together and learn how to incorporate problem-based learning and job skills into their lessons, Estrop said.
“We really see it as being a regional teacher collaborative space,” Fish said.
Estrop’s last day is Tuesday. New Superintendent Bob Hill will start Wednesday.
“We like to say leadership is everything, and Dr. Estrop is a great example of great leadership,” said Mike McDorman, president of the Chamber of Greater Springfield. “When you have a leader like Dr. Estrop, coupled with a great board of education, you’re going to bring about success for your school district, and I think we’ve seen great success over the last several years happen in the Springfield City School District.
“He has set a great foundation and built up some programs that will reap great rewards for many years to come.”
Estrop’s immediate future plans include catching up on gardening and travelling to Boston to visit his daughter, he said.
Other opportunities on the horizon include a consulting job with the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and possibly consulting on executive searches for a firm in Illinois.
He’s also been in talks with Wright State and Ohio State universities about options, he said.
“We’ve got a lot of conversations going,” Estrop said.
Still, he and wife Virginia are solid in their desire to remain in Springfield, he said.
“We’ve just really fallen in love with the people and the city,” Estrop said.
He thanked the school board, parents, students and staff of the district for all their work during his six-year tenure, especially those involved in the South High project.
“The dome in this community has always stood as a beacon of hope,” Estrop said. “I hope we have managed to literally and figuratively rekindle that beacon.”