“It’s totally an honor because it’s a title selected by the teachers you work with,” Thompson said in November of being selected WNIS Teacher of the Year.
Thompson was a medical technician in Pensacola for 24 years before deciding to become a teacher and applied at West Navarre Intermediate seven years ago because her children attended the school when it opened.
"It’s a very special place to me,” she said. “It’s the only school I applied at and it’s where I’ve always wanted to be. So it may be a second career but it’s a passion.”
When asked if she would have done anything differently if she could go back to her first college days at Auburn University, she said probably not because she wouldn’t have had the life experience she has today.
“I don’t think I would have been a good teacher then,” she said. “I became a better teacher because I had children.”
Thompson can add her Teacher of the Year award to her Mother of the Year award she received from the Navarre Press in 2008 after daughter Jessica Thompson, then in middle school, wrote an essay describing why her mother was the best mom.
“It’s hard (to share my mom) sometimes, but it’s for the better because she’s needed,” Jessica wrote. “Sometimes other people need someone that will really care about them and be there for them.”
Jessica was also talking about her mom’s involvement in Caring and Sharing of South Santa Rosa County, a nonprofit organization that raises money to supply needy families with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Thompson has been the president of Caring and Sharing since 2004. She said the food collections and distributions had become a holiday tradition for her entire family.
She has three children, Ryan Williams, 23, Rachel Williams, 20 and Jessica who is now 16. She is married to Tony Thompson. In their spare time, she said her family enjoys going on vacation together, fishing and volunteering. She said she also never misses a Navarre High School football game or an Auburn game.
Her teaching motto is “your kids will only care to learn from you when they learn how much you care for them.”