New principal at Halverson is impressed with Albert Lea support
Published 9:44 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The most rewarding career
Johanna Thomas always knew she wanted to be an elementary principal, and now she’s getting that chance.
Thomas is the new principal at Halverson Elementary School, replacing Nick Sofio, who went to Lakeview Elementary School.
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She worked at Albert Lea High School as an assistant principal for seven years before that, and before that she was a special education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School.
Before she made her way to Albert Lea, Thomas was born in Mattoon, a city in central Illinois. In eighth grade she moved to Arizona with her family and lived there until about 10 years ago.
Thomas and her husband, Cory, wanted to move back to the Midwest. As her husband had a job with Wells Fargo, Thomas and her family had a chance to return to the Midwest and ended up in Albert Lea.
Thomas has been in education for over 25 years, and she said she entered education to build the best education possible for students.
She said she has a love for students and wants to help them fulfill their possibilities, and she said she believes that’s what it truly takes to be an educator.
“I think education is the most rewarding and the most challenging of careers,” she said.
Outside of work, Thomas is busy with her kids’ activities. She has three children: 20-year-old Kelsey, 17-year-old EJ and 14-year-old Andy.
She also has two dogs, Mozzie and Kiah, and enjoys participating in outdoor activities. She used to be involved with horses but no longer has them. Thomas grew up with horses and owned some until about five years ago, after she no longer had time to commit to keeping them.
One thing she said she was most impressed with in Albert Lea is the supportive community. As she has taught in two states, Thomas said that Albert Lea’s community is supportive of education and that all kids have great opportunities.
“People want to make it happen,” she said.
She also said she is impressed with what the retired educators in the community do for the school, such as volunteering and being substitute teachers.
Address: Albert Lea
Livelihood: principal at Halverson Elementary School
Family: husband, Cory; daughter Kelsey, 20; son EJ, 17; son Andy, 14
Interesting fact: She used to teach horseback trick riding at a summer camp.