Goodbye to Principal Tami Thompson


Principal Tami Thompson stands between her daughter and late husband.

Lucia Zettler, Staff Reporter

Every day, Salida High School is bustling with the teachers, students, and faculty working hard, but one person plays a major role in keeping our school running: Tami Thompson.

Thompson started working at SHS in the start of the 1998/9 school year.

“We were living in Denver, and my oldest son was going into high school. We weren’t thrilled with the school he would be attending, so I applied for a job here,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s parents and her husband’s parents were already living in Salida before she decided to make the move, and they thought it would be a great place to raise their kids. She also felt that teaching would be a great way to work with them.

Teaching wasn’t always what she wanted to do though. She originally had her degree in business administration.  After managing several businesses and doing some accounting, she went back to school to get a degree for teaching.

Thompson taught vocational business, accounting, and computer science, and then later moved to economics at SHS. After about 8 years in the classroom, Thompson started to work as the dean half time and teaching half time. Then, when the school was shuffling people around internally, she applied for the principal position.

“I loved being out in the hallway talking to kids and in the classroom, but all that administrative stuff takes up a lot of my time,” she said.

She has to do a lot of evaluations and paperwork that is not nearly as fun as spending time with kids.

“Unfortunately, education has become a lot about other things,” Thompson said. “I’d rather just have it be about the kids and not just GPA and all that other stuff,” Thompson said.

A major event in her time as principal was the process of building the new high school where she worked on applying for grants and other responsibilities with the new construction.

“I’ve been sitting in this chair for thirteen years, so I was here as principal when we applied for the Best Grant,” Thompson said.

She was involved in the whole process of designing and building the new school and moving everything. They visited many other schools to decide how they were going to build the new SHS. They visited everything from completely digital schools, to schools with classrooms that had no doors.

“It was fun to have my voice in the part to say, ‘Yes this is a good idea!’” Thompson said.

After about 20 years of working at Salida High School as a teacher, dean of students, and principal, Thompson has decided that it is time to retire. She is moving out of her house and moving into a smaller one this year.

“I just need to take some time to concentrate on myself and figure out what my next steps in life are,” she said.