Long Time TCAPS Employee, Board Member Ida Tompkins Passes Away

“Ida was a very special person. Really an icon in our community.”

A legend of Traverse City Area Public Schools has passed away – but not without leaving an indelible mark.

Ida Tompkins had a career lasting more than 40 years with TCAPS, and is considered a trailblazer for women in education administration.

Tompkins served as the head of the business office, and the administration building now bears her name.

After retiring she joined the school board.

But Tompkins started in the district as a student, and before graduating in 1950 she was hired at age 17, on the recommendation of a teacher in her accounting class.

“She said, ‘well I have to attend school. He said we’ll take care of that part, they need some help in the business office.’ And the very next day she literally signed up to be an employee of the district. And that blossomed a career that spanned 44 years,” TCAPS superintendent Paul Soma said.

Ida was one of the first female administrators in the state.

She was married to Jim Tompkins, a former city commissioner and mayor of Traverse City.

She died yesterday at age 86.