Students and staff at Monument School started the school year with a new, yet familiar, person at the helm.
Superintendent/Principal Laura Thomas was hired last summer to fill the top position at the school, and she’s worked at Monument School District as a teacher since 2007.
“I’ve taught every grade except for first grade,” Thomas said.
Her work has included teaching elementary and junior high classes as well as high school agriculture.
Thomas said she’s developed a strong and positive relationship with the students, staff and community that will help create a smooth transition as she moves the district forward.
“I feel like we’re just one big family,” she said. “Over the years teaching, I’ve had kids say I’m like a second mom.”
She feels those bonds are built because they live in a smaller town.
“I think they’re stronger than living in a larger area,” she said.
The school, in the past two years, has had two superintendents and one interim superintendent.
Thomas said she had an interest in school administration for a long time, and with the high turnover rate, she decided to work on her master’s of school administration, and she completed it last June.
She said working at the school for seven years has given her insight.
“I already know the staff, the kids and the community,” she said. “It allowed us to hit the ground running when I shifted to the superintendent/principal position. It doesn’t force the students and staff to get to know a new superintendent.”
She said the atmosphere at Monument School is “one of positive change and moving forward.”
“I’m just looking forward to supporting the staff and students and community and making a big impact in their education,” she said.
Monument’s total enrollment is 53 with 29 in the elementary grades, five in junior high and 19 in high school.
Thomas and her husband, Jeff, have two children attending Monument. They have a 10-year-old boy and two daughters ages 6 and 3.
Together Laura and Jeff own Thomas Orchards in Kimberly.
“We’re definitely not going anywhere,” Laura said.