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The Old Mission Academy


A Novel of One Charter School's Experiences 

Implementing Lean Education


By: J. K. Thompson









The Old Mission Academy - A Novel of One Charter School's Experiences Implementing Lean Education is about more learning for less money. Is it possible to remove the waste from education using lean production business concepts?


Jeff Ames thought so. Enough, in fact, to move his family to Northern Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula to start a charter school to implement this concept. This book weaves the tale of Jeff's successes and failures in establishing this unique charter school. While learning the fundamentals of problem solving, the Old Mission students prove a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and are soon over their heads trying to solve a dangerous mystery better left to the police.


The novel also outlines the controversial issues surrounding the establishment of charter schools. Are they the path to educational innovation and accountability, or do they just sap the strength of an already beleaguered public school system? Tie into this the basics of lean production, which is changing the very nature of how the world will be making things in the 21st century... and you have a book about vital issues affecting us all.


Read, learn, and enjoy!


J. K. Thompson's career has spanned both education and business. For ten years he taught and counseled at the middle and high school levels, specializing in career awareness and computerized career information systems.

Then, after obtaining his MBA, Mr. Thompson entered the corporate world where he held a series of human resources positions, including Personnel Director for the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac headquarters with General Motors and VP of Human Resources for Walker Manufacturing.


He studied lean production first-hand as a member of the GM Technical Liaison Office with NUMMI (a GM/Toyota joint venture) in Fremont, California, where he became fascinated with its potential application to non-traditional areas, such as offices and schools.


Mr. Thompson is now president of In Sight Management Inc., and is author of two books: The Lean Office: How to Use Just-in-Time Techniques to Streamline Your Office and Lean Production How To Use The Highly Effective Japanese Concept of Kaizen To Improve Your Efficiency. He holds a BA, MA, EdS, and MBA from the University of Michigan. He has been married to his wife Connie for 28 years, and has one daughter, Elizabeth.



Chapter 1 - The First Day of School

Chapter 2 - The Soft Sell

Chapter 3 - Orientation

Chapter 4 - Dinner Time

Chapter 5 - A Lounge is not for Lounging

Chapter 6 - What's the Problem?

Chapter 7 - Selecting a School

Chapter 8 - Picking a Good Problem

Chapter 9 - Past, Present, and Future Tense

Chapter 10 - Round Number Two

Chapter 11 - The Problem Solving Model

Chapter 12 - Dinner at Eight

Chapter 13 - A Cruel Game

Chapter 14 - Sound Mind, Sound Body

Chapter 15 - Always Start With Cold Water

Chapter 16 - Dining Out

Chapter 17 - In The Long Run

Chapter 18 - The Plan To Be Fit

Chapter 19 - Randy's Problem

Chapter 20 - The 5S

Chapter 21 - At The Car Wash

Chapter 22 - Revenge is Bittersweet

Chapter 23 - This Way, Coach?

Chapter 24 - Blending Right In

Chapter 25 - Revenge II

Chapter 26 - I See Coffee, I See Tea

Chapter 27 - Cleaning Up

Chapter 28 - Scouting the Peninsula I & II

Chapter 29 - Housekeeping Items

Chapter 30 - The Raid

Chapter 31 - All the News

Chapter 32 - Winter Turns to Spring

Chapter 33 - The Last Dance

Chapter 34 - Spring Into Summer

Chapter 35 - The Parade

Chapter 36 - Randy & Jennifer Reunited

Chapter 37 - Down, But Not Out

Chapter 38 - The Porch

Chapter 39 - The Board Acts

Chapter 40 - Pedaling, Planning, and Dreaming

Chapter 41 - Up the Peninsula

Chapter 42 - The New Semester




The Old Mission Academy by J.K. Thompson, 206 pages; ISBN 978-1-896210-91-9; softcover; published in 1998; Canadian $29.95



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