As Oakridge Middle School assistant principal Nicole Thompson entered the school gymnasium this afternoon, she was greeted with cheers and a big surprise.
Clover School District staff, school faculty and students were assembled to see Beth Phibbs, executive director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, honor Thompson as the 2017 South Carolina Middle Level Assistant Principal of the Year.
"She is a well-respected leader who encourages her students to excel academically and individually,” Phibbs said.
Thompson was honored by the nomination from her peers to apply for the state award.
“I encourage students to do their best every day and never settle for less,” she said. “I try every day to live by example.”
District superintendent Marc Sosne said Thompson has done “phenomenal” work for the school.
“Not just in getting Internet connectivity to families who don’t have it, but every day, day in and day out, providing the very best for the teachers and students of our school,” he said. “She is a rising superstar school administrator. The Clover School District is lucky to have her as one of our young, bright, energetic leaders.”
Thompson was selected by a veteran panel of judges. The other finalists for the award were Natalie Osborne Smith from Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington School District One and Olga Toggas from Forestbrook Middle School in the Horry County School District. The criteria used in the selection of this award are set by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. State sponsors also include Horace Mann, Herff Jones and Michelin.
Thompson has been an assistant principal at Oakridge since 2013 and is in her 17th year with the Clover district. She joined the district from Newberry College as an English teacher at Clover High School and accepted her first administration role in 2011.
“You will not find a more caring assistant principal than Nicole Thompson. She always puts students first,” said school principal Will Largen.