After six years working administratively in the Cedar Rapids School District, Erin Thompson decided it was time for a change.
Thompson is the new principal for the Anamosa High School and said she was attracted to the job because it will allow her to regain the personal touch of a smaller district.
“Before I worked in Cedar Rapids, I had always worked in a smaller school district,” she said, even graduating from a small class of 62 in her own high school. “Smaller districts have always been my niche.”
Thompson enjoys the more community-driven atmosphere that comes with a smaller district, which she said she’s already felt with multiple people and organizations reaching out to try to get to know her.
“Right away, the community was super welcoming to me here, so I knew that that was a good fit,” she said.
Having a smaller district allows her to get to know people on a personal level. Building those relationships with both students and staff is of the utmost importance for Thompson.
In her six years in Cedar Rapids, Thompson worked with curriculum and instructional for the English department at the secondary level and last year, she worked as an “instructional design leader,” providing professional learning and coaching to the district’s instructional leaders.
Even before joining the Cedar Rapids district, during her 11 years teaching English in Clear Creek Amana, Thompson had her eye on how she could best impact students.
“I have always been involved in teacher leader-type positions, even when I was a teacher,” she said.
She went on to earn her administrative degree 2010 so that she could have an impact on students beyond the classroom.
Thompson is feeling settled in, she was able to take in prom as well as graduation, and has been meeting with staff over the course of the summer. As a strong proponent of standards-based grading, she feels she can help the district continue along in the transition.
A lot of Thompson’s work in Cedar Rapids centered around being able to provide quality instruction, which translates to a district of any size, as well as her work with professional development and working with teachers. She’s already had meetings with building leaders and was able to sit in on professional development sessions at the end of the last school year. In order to meet the rest of the staff, she’s held meetups around town so she can get to know the community and the rest of the faculty better.
In her new role, Thompson’s main focus is ensuring that the students of Anamosa High School are as prepared as they can possibly be.
“Our big…focus this year will be on making sure that every student has what they need to be successful when they leave us,” she said.
That incorporates getting to know the student’s interest and making sure that all doors remain open for the future.
The building will have a lot of new staff aside from Thompson and she’s looking forward to the community and the students getting to know them better. What she’s really looking forward to is getting to build get to know the Anamosa student body.