ANDERSON — Terry Thompson says he would have been perfectly happy concluding his education career as principal of Anderson High School.
"If you ask Ben Gale (Anderson Community Schools board of trustees president), he will tell you I was the last one to submit my application about 10 minutes before the deadline," Thompson said.
But there was nothing impulsive about his decision to apply for the superintendent's position. "My wife and I absolutely discussed this for a long time ... probably over a period of a month," Thompson said.
Last month, the school board unanimously chose the 60-year-old career educator to lead Madison County's largest school district, effective July 1, citing his leadership skills, ability to build community partnerships and inspire both students and staff.
On Wednesday, Thompson talked with The Herald Bulletin about the district's strengths and weaknesses, answering 10 questions about what he thinks are the most pressing issues in the district, and defining his role and vision as the school system's top administrator.
THB: What are the most immediate challenges facing the district?
TT: The first most important challenge is to find out what the needs of the principals are.
We’ve done that, and we have 41 items we have to deal with. And then the second thing most pressing, is to begin the process of working with our middle school administrative team.
This morning we posted for another assistant principal at Highland Middle School. Highland Middle School as we know, has struggled with the A-to-F grading policy … so we are going to provide them with support.
The first thing we’re doing is providing the Highland Middle School administrative team with an additional person to focus on grade six, because that seems to be a difficult transition year for our students. Statistically….grade nine, a transition year, and grade six are the two years that kids struggle the most.