PROSPERITY — Mid-Carolina Middle School has welcomed a new assistant principal on campus this school year.
Eric Thompson, from Whitmire, graduated from Whitmire High School in 1995 and then attended the University of South Carolina for a year thinking he wanted to be a business major.
He is married to Maria Miller Thompson, a fifth grade math teacher at Pomaria Garmany Elementary, and they have three children: Trent Thompson, a ninth grader at Whitmire High School; Ryder Thompson, a 6-year-old first grader at Pomaria Garmany; and Asher Thompson, who is 2 years old.
When he’s not working, Thompson enjoys golfing and riding jet skis out on the lake, although he says during the school year it’s hard to find the time.
Thompson first started his journey to becoming an assistant principal through multiple people.
Superintendent Jim Suber told Thompson of a potential coaching job so he changed his major from business to physical education and transferred to Newberry College. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.
Thompson coached at Whitmire Community School for three years while attending college.
“Being a Newberry County person, Newberry College felt like home again,” he said. “It’s much smaller than The University of South Carolina and coming back to a small community was what I needed. It was refreshing.”
Growing up, Thompson also played football, basketball, baseball and golf. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 16.
Taking on the role as assistant principal wasn’t always Thompson’s first choice. When Thompson switched majors, he especially enjoyed coaching and teaching physical education and thought he would always be a coach and teacher.
He has coached and taught physical education, football, basketball and golf for 16 years and was the head basketball coach at Whitmire for several years. Thompson was also the Whitmire defensive coordinator for 11 years and went on to Mid-Carolina High School where he has filled the same position for the last five years.
“I always thought I was going to be known as Coach Thompson,” he said.
Thompson said when he taught at Boundary Street Elementary, the director of Student Services for the district started pushing Thompson to get his administrative degree.
Thompson said he was reluctant but continued to stay in touch with Dr. Hunter. When Kim Hamilton, principal of Boundary Street at the time, began to push Thompson to get his degree, he decided to start a program to pursue his degree.
Thompson gives credit to Allison Stribble, the current principal at Boundary Street Elementary for getting him into administration. Thompson knew he wanted to be an administrator last year when their assistant principal was on maternity leave and he was exposed to assistant principal duties and was in charge of state testing.
“That experience, pulling me out of the classroom and going into the office to work on administrative duties, that experience let me know that this is something I do want to do,” he said.
Working with kids has been something that Thompson has always enjoyed. Thinking he would be a business student, Thompson said that coming from the small town of Whitmire, it just didn’t feel right and realized that business wasn’t for him.
“Once I started coaching while I was at Newberry College, I knew that was the right thing and I knew it would satisfy me, working with kids and doing something I enjoy,” he said.
Thompson’s favorite part about his job is that he gets to see kids from all different angles and he is able to go into classrooms, see what they do and relate to them a different way outside of the classroom or the football field. But for right now, Thompson’s main focus is to learn as much as he can.
“Maybe one day we’ll add principle to that list, but right now I’m just trying to be the best assistant principal I can be,” he said.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.