13 Feb Deep in the Heart of “PROSPER” with principal Jana Thomson
BY LUCY TOWLE
Surrounded by generations of current and former students. Keeley & Kylar Dailey, Dalton & Daylin Smith, Elvia Venzor, Riley Smith, Troy Bahrenburg, Duece Mounger, Alexa, Daniel & Henry Burkhart, Thomas Hall, and Jana Thomson.
“…And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?” Esther 4:14.
For eighteen years, Cockrell Elementary School principal Jana Thomson has touched generations while watching and participating in Prosper’s growth.
When she enrolled in TCU twenty-six years ago, she planned to earn her MBA. But when a professor seeking students for an educational leadership program, asked, “What would you think about being a principal?” her destiny was launched.
Thomson’s deepest desire was to make a difference in her students’ lives. But working in large districts as a classroom teacher and assistant principal tempted her to question her career choice. She wanted to be a part of a district with a real heart for children, community, and families. So she opened a map, and asked her heart to search her future.
A tiny speck caught her eye. Prosper ISD was small—its one elementary school served only 425 students. When Thomson inquired about the position becoming available due to the principal’s retirement, she was informed that it was already filled.
“I don’t know how they could have chosen the principal,” she responded, “because no one has met me yet!”
Within days, Thomson interviewed with the superintendent, the school board, and the site-based team, and her heart quickly won them over. It was the opportunity that changed her life.
“Learning takes more than great teachers,” she believes. “Quality teaching comes from our relationships with our students. I want to be where we do what is best for kids, where we create memories that will last a lifetime!”
And for eighteen years, she has done exactly that, creating a school experience alive with opportunities for activity and memories. She has mentored leaders, developed teachers, and valued her students. She knows—as her father taught her—that “even the poorest person in the worst situation has parents who cared for them as much as anyone else”.
Everyone she meets knows she is genuine—she believes in and encourages each child, no matter the situation. The first morning after the winter break, Thomson walked the hallways of Cockrell, greeting each student by name, personally seeking out the school’s fourteen new students to welcome them.
“Work does not feel like work for me,” says Thomson. “It’s a joy and a privilege. I am honored to serve in a district where the school board, superintendent, and community support our work and allow us to put children first.”
Dr. Drew Watkins, who became PISD superintendent three years after Thomson arrived, shares her passion for putting kids first.
“Jana Thomson’s leadership has been a mainstay in Prosper for almost two decades,” he says. “Her selfless service to families has never been compromised. During her tenure, we have grown from one elementary school to five, and she has been instrumental in that growth.”
“Mrs. Thomson ‘bleeds Prosper green’!” he continues. “Parents implicitly trust her with their children. She has been and continues to be a blessing to our community. I am truly thankful for her unyielding commitment.”