Thompson getting settled in at JHS

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Jemison High School Principal Alan Thompson had two lifelong dreams growing up. He wanted to work in law enforcement, but he also wanted to be an educator.

“I sort of reached both dreams,” said Thompson, whose post-high school military experience led him to work in U.S. Customs for six years.

He went on to serve three years in law enforcement for the City of Montgomery, but after starting a family, Thompson needed more stability in his career.

Thompson attended Wallace Community College in Clanton before transferring to Auburn University in Montgomery, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in social sciences and Master in education with an additional certification in educational leadership.

He completed his educational specialist program at the University of Montevallo, where he had briefly attended before joining the Alabama National Guard. His administrative internship training took him to Verbena High School under the direction of Principal Larry Raines.

“[Raines’] dedication and commitment to helping students is a model for which I utilize in my administrative duties,” Thompson said.

He taught history at Ingram State Technical College in Wetumpka for a year, and from 2000-2002 taught special education and coached basketball at Thompson High School in Alabaster.

Special education is something Thompson holds close to his heart.

“That’s where my passion is, seeing those who weren’t as privileged as other kids achieve their goals,” he said.

Thompson comes to Jemison from Pelham High School, where he was assistant principal for two years. He describes Jemison as “down home” for a good reason.

Even though Thompson grew up in Jefferson County (he is a 1982 graduate of West Jefferson High School), he has many childhood memories of visiting his late grandmother, Callie Taylor, in Jemison.

The Chilton ties come from his mother, Mary Omer Taylor, a 1960 graduate of Thorsby High School. His father is the late James “Snooks” Thompson of Jefferson County.

Thompson currently lives in Calera with his 13-year-old daughter, K.J.; 11-year-old son, Cody; and 8-year-old son, Ryan. They attend Calera Baptist Church.

“Living in Calera, I’m very familiar with the Chilton County [school] system,” he says. “I know the leadership here and have a lot of respect for them. I have a lot of good friends here who are principals.”

Thompson has known Superintendent Keith Moore for about 20 years, and is looking forward to working under his leadership.

“All my meetings with him have been very positive. He has a lot of great ideas; it just takes a lot of time and money to implement them,” he said.

Thompson was quick to add that he is most impressed with the quality of teachers and support staff at Jemison.

As principal, his biggest goal is to see kids graduate.

“If they can finish this accomplishment, it will make the other tough decisions they face in life a lot easier to go through,” he said.