Our History

Our History

Historically, the Lakota Local School District is an area of the John Symmes Purchase -- a land between the Great Miami and the Little Miami Rivers. Geographically, it is located in the southeastern part of Butler County between two industrial giants, the rich Mill Creek Valley complex to the south and the Middletown area to the north. Vocationally, it is a cosmopolitan community of agricultural, professional, and industrial workers.

Years ago, the children of the present Lakota School District attended some fifteen elementary schools. In the Union area, the attendance centers were Eighteen Mile, Maude, Pisgah, Port Union, Rialto, Wakefield, West Chester, and White Section. In the Liberty area, they were Bethany, Hughes, Huntsville, Kyle, Oak Hill, Princeton, and Rockdale.

In 1915, all but two of the schools in the Union area were consolidated as the Union Township Schools. During the 1940's, Pisgah and Port Union joined the Union Township District at the educational center in West Chester.

By 1928, all of the elementary schools were consolidated in the Liberty area as the Liberty Township School.

Following the consolidation of the Liberty and Union districts in 1957, the district was known as the Liberty-Union School District. The name of the district was changed to Lakota Local School District in 1970.

The word 'Lakota' is an Indian name meaning coming together, unity, or togetherness. The consolidations have brought together the many small neighborhoods and molded them into a strong, cohesive community.

Covering 68 square miles, the district serves a large and diverse geographical community. Eight separate mailing or post office zones including West Chester, Hamilton, Middletown, Monroe, Sharonville, Fairfield, Springdale, and Cincinnati comprise the area.

Hughes School

School During the Late 1800's 

Hughes School, built in 1887, was the second school in Liberty Township. Grades 1 through 8 met in the school; while the teacher worked with one class, the other students were expected to be doing their own work or helping another class.

A teacher’s life was very different then. Mostly young and unmarried, teachers arrived early to shovel snow, start the fire, and prepare the building for the school day. Parents provided room and board for a month at a time, and were expected to clean up the building and grounds, maintain the property, and furnish wood and coal. The school board provided the teacher with a horse and buggy or saddle horse.

Each student had chores assigned—they had to gather firewood for stove, pump and carry water, keep fire burning, take out ashes, clean blackboard, get kindling ready for teacher for next morning, and sweep the floor.

After 1922 when Liberty Elementary opened, Hughes School was used for a time as the custodian’s residence and for storage. In 1975, restoration of the building began; the original school bell was found in the attic at Liberty Elementary and restored to its place at Hughes School. The building is now maintained as a historical site and to help Lakota students understand public education in the early 1900s.  
(Thanks to Pat Day for this information.)

Union Township School 1917

School District Growth

Growth has characterized the district, with student enrollment increasing from 1,500 to more than 16,500 today. Enrollment reached 6,938 students during the 1980-81 school year. Currently, Lakota ranks 8th in student population among Ohio's 600-plus school districts. To keep pace with growth from 1957-1978, the Board of Education constructed a high school with three additions, three junior schools (one of which is now Creekside Early Childhood School), two elementary schools, and a service center. Two original buildings, Liberty and Union, were also renovated during this time.

Construction to follow that boom included the opening of one elementary school in 1988, two elementary schools in 1990, an elementary school and a freshman school in 1992, 34 classroom additions in 1993, and two elementary schools in 1994. In fall 1997, five buildings were opened, including two high schools, an early childhood center, a relocated freshman school, and a third junior school. For the 2003-04 school year, an additional elementary school and junior school were opened along with a new Central Office. 

In 2007, additions were made to Lakota East and West high schools, and the district opened two new schools: Endeavor Elementary and Wyandot Early Childhood School. The Lakota East Freshman School opened in 2008 and a remodeled Liberty Early Childhood School was completed in 2009.

In 2016, to address the costly alternative of maintaining or renovating the original, dilapidated and vacant Union Elementary in Olde West Chester, the Board of Education signed a long-term land lease agreement with the Boys & Girls Club of West Chester Liberty. The agreement allowed the district to retain ownership of the 9-acre property, but for the Club to build its new, privately-funded facility on a portion of it. The school was demolished that year and the Club officially opened its doors in December 2017. 

In 2017, Lakota established an alternative high school it named Lakota Career Readiness Academy. The program operated out of Lakota West's main campus, but was available to both East and West students. To increase its capacity and reach, the Academy moved the following year to the the location of the original Board of Education office, located directly in front of Lakota West Freshman School. The larger space was a better location for serving students from both sides of the district.

In 2018, in an effort to make all-day kindergarten available to all students in spite of space constraints, the district reconfigured its schools so that grades K-2 would attend early childhood schools and grades 3-6 would attend elementary schools. After an extensive facilities study, it was determined that Heritage and Hopewell elementary schools would need to become early childhood schools.

Union Elementary
Liberty Elementary
Lakota High School
Hopewell Elementary
Lakota Junior School*
Hopewell Junior School
Liberty Junior School
Adena Elementary
Freedom Elementary and High School Addition
Woodland and Shawnee Elementaries
Heritage Elementary and Lakota Freshman School
34 Classroom Additions to Six Buildings
Cherokee and Independence Elementaries
Lakota East High School, Lakota West High School, Lakota Early Childhood Center, Relocation of the Lakota Freshman School to Former High School Site, Lakota Ridge Junior School Opened at the Former Site of the Lakota Freshman School
Lakota Plains Junior School, VanGorden Elementary, and new Central Office Building
Endeavor Elementary School, Wyandot Early Childhood School and Additions to Lakota East and West High Schools


Lakota East Freshman School and Liberty Early Childhood School**


New Union Elementary and remodeled Liberty Early Childhood School
 2016  Deconstruction of original Union Elementary in Olde West Chester
 2016  Lakota establishes Career Readiness Academy at Lakota West's main campus
 2017  Career Readiness Academy relocates from Lakota West to the original Board of Education office in front of Lakota West Freshman
2018   Heritage and Hopewell elementary schools transition to early childhood schools
2018  Lakota Welcome Center (previously the Enrollment Center) relocates to Central Office

* This building was used as a junior high school until the opening of Liberty Junior School in October 1977. It was later used as the east wing of the Lakota High School and is now the Creekside Early Childhood School.

**Liberty Early Childhood School relocated to new school on LeSourdsville-West Chester Road while repairs are made to the school on Princeton Road


D. Russell Lee

1959 - 1964

Herbert A. Henderson

1964 - 1981

Thomas Hayden

1981 - 1994

Kathleen Klink

1994 - 2005

Philip Ehrhardt

2005 - 2006

Mike Taylor

2006 - 2011

Ron Spurlock (interim)

2011 - 2011
Karen Mantia
2011 - 2016

Robb Vogelmann (acting) 2016-  2017

Matthew Miller 2017 - present