Thompson hired to lead WEMS
A retired educator with 40 years of experience has been hired to lead Williston-Elko Middle School for the remainder of the school year.
Herman Thompson of North Augusta assumed responsibilities as WEMS principal on Thursday, Jan. 4 following the termination of Greg Sweet’s employment in December for unspecified “misconduct”. Thompson is serving on a contract basis at a rate of $350 per day until a permanent principal is hired.
“I want to bring stability and strength to the school,” said Thompson.
Williston District 29 Interim Superintendent Dr. Everette Dean Jr. said he sought out and interviewed several experienced educators for the position. However, Thompson stood out as he came highly recommended from his previous superintendent. The school board approved Thompson’s hiring last month, but his name was not made public until school started back last week.
“He took a difficult middle school and turned it around. He set high expectations for the students and staff,” said Dean of Thompson’s previous school.
Thompson started his education career in 1977 as a teacher in his hometown at North Augusta High School. He then went to the State Department of Education where he trained student bus drivers and later as a county supervisor over buses in Johnston. Thompson is an experienced school administrator as he was principal of Merriweather Middle and Gaffney Middle schools. He later transferred to the district office as Head of Attendance and hearing officer before going to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg. After retiring and moving back to North Augusta, a need for experienced science teachers at Barnwell High School brought Thompson back to his roots and love of science, he said.
While his roles have varied over the years, his goal of helping students succeed has never wavered. Preparing students is a lot like farming, which is another one of Thompson’s passions.
“I want to watch them grow and mature,” he said of helping WEMS students, including with test scores.
Thompson also wants to “reenergize” the entire school and support the students, parents and staff.
During an interview on his second day on the job, Thompson said he’s already felt welcomed by everyone. “The faculty and staff here are exceptional,” he said.
He has an open door policy and invites parents to come to him with any questions or concerns. “My door is always open,” he said.
Thompson and his wife have been married for nearly 40 years. They have three daughters and six grandchildren who are scattered across South Carolina.