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VP hopes to increase technology use in classrooms

October 5, 2017

Current vice principal, Justin Thomalla is one of a multitude of people to occupy the position in the school’s 158-year history. From indecisively double majoring in business and education, Thomalla found his home in Education and after teaching, he went on to complete his Master’s degree in the curriculum instruction. His thorough years of experience led him to the occupation he currently holds and sees a bright future ahead.

Faced in the position many seniors find themselves throughout senior year, Thomalla was not very sure of what he wanted to do after high school, therefore he began his college career at a junior college called in Midplain’s Community College in North Platte, Nebraska. From there, he went transferred to Peru State (also in NE) to play football. Double majoring in business and education, Thomalla knew he wanted a career of some athletic sort mixed with education, but was not as sure going the business route. “The main reasons why I wanted to get into education first because I loved athletics, I loved what athletics and sports could do for students,” Thomalla said. Initially endorsed in physical education, Thomalla started out as a P.E. teacher.

For 17 years Thomalla has worked for Omaha Public Schools and 16 of them were spent at Marrs Middle School. To put it lightly, he occupied the roles of a Physical Education teacher for seven years whilst coaching high school basketball and football at Burke High School, two years as dean of students and spent the previous seven years as assistant principal.

But once the opportunity arose for Thomalla to further his experiences in a high school atmosphere, he took the risk of applying as vice Principal at Central. In the back of his mind he always knew he was interested in Central due to the tradition and excellence Central is widely known for. “Marrs was my home. It was a place where I grew up at, I started there when I was 22 years old…but I’m at a point in my life where I should be applying for building principal ship,” Thomalla said. He realized it was the time to grow as a person and effectively alter the outlook of his career. Though, the transition between middle and high school are not lost on Thomalla as he says students are at different stages of their lives and his duties are different. Now, he spends more times on grades and transcripts and can have more mature and meaningful conversations with students.

People close to Central encouraged Thomalla to apply for the job, saying he would be a great fit. “Being in a different role and different school, it has allowed me to work on other skill sets,” Thomalla said. At Central, there are several athletics and activities for students to be involved in, which is what Thomalla likes most Central’s features.

As far as accommodating to a new atmosphere, “I have really enjoyed working with the staff here; [from] the secretaries to the teachers to the administration team to the students, I have really felt welcome here from day one,” Thomalla said. Many staff members have worked here long enough to know of Tom Wagner, the previous vice Principal, but offered their welcoming’s personally to Thomalla in his office, making him feel a part of the Eagle team.

Thomalla hopes to bring some of his expertise in technology in the classroom as it was one of his major skill sets during his time at Marrs. He plans to work with teachers in the classroom when it comes to the use of technology to leverage instruction.

“One thing we always have to do is grow and change…Having that growth mindset where we’re all trying to improve and that happens from taking risks or new experiences.” In the meantime, Thomalla’s goals include making a positive impact on students’ lives at Central. “Since this is a new experience for me, I know this is going to help me be a better leader,” Thomalla said.

Someday, if the opening arises, Thomalla hopes to be principal. Until then, Thomalla is at Central, fulfilling the vice Principal duty and plans to do so for quite a while.

 

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