His title also will change — to superintendent of the Pettus Independent School District.
At a special called meeting Saturday, the PISD board of trustees unanimously chose Thompson, 47, to be the superintendent of the 430-student body district.
He replaces Tucker Rackley, who resigned earlier this year.
Sitting in Rackley’s office on Monday, Thompson admitted that Rackley is a tough act to follow.
“The biggest challenge is following in his (Rackley’s) footsteps. They’re big shoes to fill, but at least I know what size they are.”
Twenty-four candidates applied for Rackley’s position; during four special board meetings the seven trustees narrowed the field to seven, finally choosing five to interview.
By state law, the board must wait 21 days before signing a contract with Thompson who, Rackley says, has the most years of administration experience of the final five applicants.
“When I announced I was retiring, the board was aware that Mr. Thompson would apply, and that he would be more worthy of consideration,” Rackley said.
He cited three facets of Thompson’s 13-year administrative experience that gives him a superintendent’s edge: academics, discipline and a knowledge of extra-curricular activities.
During his three-year tenure as secondary school principal, the school:
• Was rated as a recognized campus by the Texas Education Association.
• Received a Gold Performance Acknowledgement in 2011 for Higher Education Component: English Language Arts and mathematics.
• Received a Gold Performance Acknowledgement in 2010 for College Ready and Higher Education Component in mathematics.
• Recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top high schools in the country.
“We have such good people working here. I feel confident we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Thompson says.
Thompson’s wife, Debbie, teaches pre-kindegarten at PISD.
Although he will remain as secondary school principal until some 40 seniors are graduated next month, part of his focus will be the search for a new principal.
A committee of teachers and Thompson will start the search; he hopes to name a replacement in the first week of May.
Although Thompson’s first job was teaching and coaching in the Comal Independent School District — “there were more than 1,000 students in the seventh and eighth grade” — he prefers a more rural setting.
Among his credentials is something his colleagues may not expect: he is a certified Texas school bus driver instructor.
“At Comal I taught and coached, so I had to drive the bus,” he explains.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.