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 16,000 today. Enrollment reached 6,938 students during the 1980-81 school year. Currently, Lakota ranks 8th in student population among Ohio's 612 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 the Lakota Early Childhood Center), two elementary schools, and a service center. Two original buildings, Liberty and Union, were also renovated during this time.

More recent construction includes 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 elementaries 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. The alternative high school program moved from rented space into the former Lakota Board of Education building on Tylersville Road.

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. The Lakota East Freshman School opened in 2008 and a remodeled Liberty Early Childhood School was completed in 2009.

Lakota East High School

Lakota Today

Throughout the years, the district has achieved state and local recognition for academics, fine arts, athletics, and other extracurricular activities. Freedom, Hopewell and Shawnee Elementaries, Liberty Jr. School, and the Lakota High School have been recognized nationally as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence; Freedom Elementary earned National Blue Ribbon status for a second time in 1999 and Liberty Jr. School earned the Blue Ribbon in 2002. 

Lakota is also known for its comprehensive special education programs which currently serve more than 1000 students.  Lakota East and West High Schools (Grades 10-12) and the Lakota Freshman Schools (Grade 9)  represent a four-year comprehensive institution, offering more than 175 different courses. Students who wish to participate in vocational programs may attend Butler Technology and Career Development Schools at D. Russel Lee Career Center.


As the district's demographics and educational priorities have changed, so also have the aspirations of graduating seniors. The Class of 2003 found 90% of its members pursuing post- secondary training compared with 47% in 1982. Alone, a school district could not prosper. Lakota's growth has, historically, been nurtured by supportive community groups. Active participation in all phases of the overall program has enabled the district to initiate and maintain its wide variety  of programs which meet the needs and interests of a diverse population.

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

* 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 Lakota Early Childhood Center.

**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) 2016-17

Matt Miller 2017 - present