The Harper Woods School District is expanding its outreach and growing exponentially under its new leadership. Stephen McGhee, the district’s new superintendent, has alleviated the issue of overcrowding at Harper Woods High School, through the inception of the site of the former Heart Academy on Triumph Church’s property.
Prior to the expansion, the high school building housed both high school and middle school students, creating difficulties due to overpopulation. The new Harper Woods Triumph Middle School is located at 19800 Anita Street, just up the road from the high school near Vernier Road, and houses sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.
“One of the primary concerns when I became superintendent was the lack of space, so we’ve been looking at the most feasible and affordable ways to solve this,” said McGhee in an interview with C&G newspapers. “We were talking with Triumph Church and we have entered into a long-term contract for our middle school. It will be called Harper Woods Triumph Middle School and focus on our new International Baccalaureate program and our college and career pathways program.”
The new site previously housed Heart Academy, a private high school that closed and has been vacant since 2016. Triumph Church, located next door, is the owner of the property which the Harper Woods School District leases each year for $92,400.
The new middle school has full school facilities available to the students and staff, including 43 classrooms, a full office, a gym, and a cafeteria. Enrollment in both the middle school and high schools have increased since its opening, rising from 434 to 583 students since the 2013-14 school year, while middle school enrollment has increased from 203 to 250 students in the same period of time.
The move to the new building has helped the district incorporate the International Baccalaureate program in the middle school curriculum, which the whole student body will be taking part in. It has also helped the district put into place the College and Career Pathway program, which the district began implementing in 2017.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of Harper Woods Triumph Middle School. Board members, members of the district, and the community were invited. McGhee gave a speech, cut the ribbon alongside his board members, and ended it with a tour.
McGhee taught and coached football at now-closed Detroit Crockett High School and was principal at Detroit Central High School. He graduated from Detroit Henry Ford in 1983.