Sara Thompson eager to build new culture as new Prairie View Elementary School principal

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – While her office might still be a work-in-progress, Sara Thompson has already made herself at home. 

Thompson, 44, officially took over the principal role at Prairie View Elementary School on July 1 after being approved for the position on April 11. However, the eagerness to prepare for the looming 2022-23 school year has not been the sole factor in Thompson’s willingness to get on top of all Prairie View-related problems that need solving beforehand. 

Being enthusiastic here and there also serves a purpose toward completing all tasks, and Thompson has kept note of such. 

Sara Thompson was approved to become Prairie View Elementary School Principal by the Devils Lake School Board on April 11.

“It has been really exciting,” Thompson said. “It’s fun to see all of the changes that are happening in the district because there has been so much movement with the realignment of grade levels. So, we had many teachers move over here, and many teachers move over to Sweetwater [Elementary School]. And so, there is only one teacher in this building that kept her classroom. Everyone else had to move. We put all of fourth grade in one wing and all of third grade in another wing…So, it has been fun to see the excitement of the teachers in their new space and reorganizing their materials. It has been really fun to start that process, I guess.” 

Thompson – the Devils Lake Public Schools (DLPS) Teacher of the Year in 2019-20 and a North Dakota Teacher of the Year finalist in 2020 – has consolidated more than her fair share of experience in the education field. Thompson has amassed 15 years in DLPS and worked in the Dallas, Texas, area for more than six years. 

From her experience as an instructional coach – not to mention her time as a kindergarten and second grade teacher – Thompson has helped teachers and students form and achieve goals.  

Forming a new culture, to Thompson, helps act as that necessary first step toward achieving new goals during the upcoming school year. In addition, with the consolidation of the third and fourth grades into one school, the opportunity to make school a fun experience for all has also acted as a worthy goal any principal would want to achieve. 

Thompson is no exception. 

Sara Thompson (listed) is excited for the upcoming school year.

“It’s really exciting that we have a fresh start,” Thompson said. “I think everyone is really excited for that, and I think it’s great that all of the students will be in the same building. They were at the [Minnie H] Kindergarten Center, and they would get split up between two schools and then come back together at the middle school, so it is really exciting that they get to move together. There are more opportunities for students to pair up with other classrooms and pair up with other kids and also be split and have different experiences that way, so I think it is really exciting.” 

As principal, Thompson must make herself available to both students and teachers. After all, such a positive culture will only blossom even more with such a philosophy. 

“I plan to be very present,” Thompson said. “It is really important that you are not just in your office all day, but you are out in the hallway, in the classroom, at pick up and drop-off and just [being] available and communicate and build those relationships.” 

Although the school year is still a month away from officially getting underway (Prairie View’s first day with students is scheduled for Aug. 24), Thompson understands the importance of starting early and often.

Work-in-progress? Definitely. But it is one Thompson is more than eager to tackle. 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.