Augusta University alumnus Dr. Keith Thompson, principal of Northbrook Middle School in Gwinnett County, has been named Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.
Thompson graduated from Augusta University’s College of Education with a Bachelor of Science in Education in Middle Grades Education and started his teaching and administrative career locally in Augusta.
“Augusta University played a huge role into who I am today,” Thompson said. “I really enjoyed my classes there. I enjoyed the professors. The coursework and my student teaching experience all prepared me for education.”
While his coworkers at Sego Middle School persuaded him to pursue leadership within the school system, he said, “It all started at Augusta University.”
Fast forward to 2014, when Thompson helped open Northbrook Middle School in Gwinnett County, serving as principal there for the past seven years.
It was never Thompson’s intention to apply for Georgia’s Middle School Principal of the Year.
“I’m purely here for the kids. Purely here for improving education. My administration team saw the need to propel me. They insisted,” he said.
He credits the award recognition to his staff’s creation of a nurturing and high-achieving environment.
“I am a big advocate of nurturing kids who are at-risk or the kids who need someone to believe in them. I have a very nurturing and open environment at Northbrook for all students,” Thompson said.
For him, there are a lot of elements that go into creating a nurturing environment for students.
“I have an open-door policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came through my door right now and sat with me. I listen to my teachers and know them, their families, what they’re going through,” he said.
Thompson also aims to create a visibly nurturing environment by making sure the diversity of the staff reflects the students. This ensures students have someone who they can come to easily.
For the past five years, Northbrook Middle School has outperformed its peers and outscored its projections.
Thompson attributes Northbrook’s performance and his recent achievement to the staff’s dedication to putting students first.
“We love our students, but then we have high expectations. We put supports in place for them to reach those expectations,” he said.