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About Our School


The mission of Wayne Thomas School is to develop life-long learners in a nurturing environment in which every child can succeed.  


  • All children can learn.
  • In addressing the academic, creative, social, emotional, and physical well-being of each child.
  • In encouraging children to grow beyond their immediate environment and become caring, respectful partners in a global society.
  • In providing a safe and caring environment that fosters risk-taking.
  • In a collaborative approach to decision making involving staff, parents, and students.
  • In respecting and valuing all individuals as contributing members of the school community.
  • Education is best delivered through a partnership of staff, family, and community.
  • In on-going professional growth for its staff.
  • Continual improvement is essential.


In 1956, due to an increase in enrollment and the new development of the Highland Park Highlands, a new school became necessary. Wayne Thomas Elementary School opened in 1957. The new school had only 10 rooms – 8 classrooms and 2 kindergarten rooms – and was designed by Perkins and Will, the architects who would later design the addition built in 1998. The school was named for Wayne A. Thomas, former principal of Oak Terrace and superintendent of former School District 111. The original building housed 300 students, filling the building the moment it opened!

Built in the heart of the Highlands on land donated by builder Nathan Manilow, Wayne Thomas School relieved the over crowdedness at Oak Terrace School. The original building cost $215,000 to build. An addition consisting of another eight classrooms, a multi-purpose room with a stage, and office spaces was completed and occupied in January, 1958. During the summer of 1965, a new wing to the east with four classrooms, a library learning center, and offices was added. The latest addition was built in 1998 and added 4 classrooms, a multi-purpose room and six new office and conference rooms to the building.


Wayne Thomas School
2939 Summit Avenue
Highland Park, IL 60035
224.765.3900 (p)
224.765.3908 (f)

School day:

Begins at 8:40 am
Ends at 3:17 pm

Michael Rodrigo

Associate Principal:
Colleen Goodrich

Enrollment (2021): 328
MASCOT Wildcat
COLORS Blue and Gold