For the past four years, David Thomson has overseen the education of hundreds of children at Duxbury Middle School as assistant principal.


For the past four years, David Thomson has overseen the education of hundreds of children at Duxbury Middle School as assistant principal.  Now, like those students, he is ready to take his own education to the next level.

Earlier this month, Thomson agreed on a contract with the Mansfield School District to become principal of the Qualters Middle School on July 1, leaving Duxbury behind.

“We’ll miss him and the kids will miss him,” said DMS Principal Joellen Scannell.  “When you work with people, you become a team, but we all wish him well.  He’s like one of our kids in that he’s been here for four years and now it is time for him [to move on].”

Thomson said that the decision to take the position in Mansfield is bittersweet in that he is sad to be leaving the school, but ready to begin a new phase in his career.

“I’m excited in that this is a very good opportunity to work with some good people, but it’s a little sad because of the great connections I’ve made here and the people here [at DMS],” he said.

Among those outstanding people, said Thomson, are Scannell, who he said has given him room to grow in his time at the school, and Superintendent Eileen Williams, who “pushed me when I needed to be pushed and patted me on the back when I did well.”

Williams said that one of the things that stands out to her about Thomson is his interest in getting to know both parents and students and his commitment to projects that have benefited many in the school system.

“Beyond organizing and running the Nature’s Classroom programÖwhen the law changed to require restraint training for school professionals, David volunteered an incredible amount of time to be the trainer [for others],” she said.  “That is typical of him to go above and beyond to help the entire system and not just his school.”

In February, Mansfield’s superintendent narrowed the field of 30 applicants to two finalists to lead Qualters.  After one applicant accepted a principal’s job in Weymouth, Thomson was left as the lone finalist for the job.  Before accepting the job, he met with parents from the school to discuss his background and hopes for the future.

“I approach anything like that [meeting] by being frank and honest,” said Thomson, who lives in Norton.  “The parents had specific questions of me and anytime you move into a new situation, I think you have to assess where you are before you can tell people where you are going.”

Days after the parents’ meeting, Thomson was offered the job and signed a contract that gave him the opportunity to be head principal for the first time in his career.

“It’s been my goal to be a principal, so I’d been looking for a high-performing district that supports schools and would offer me an opportunity for professional growth, so I applied for the job and am excited [to begin],” he said.

Following seven years as a science and math teacher in a Foxboro middle school, Thomson came to Duxbury to take his first assistant principal job and said that he has learned a great deal from the experience and his colleagues.

“I’ve learned a lot about being a leader in an educational settingÖand worked with families to have success [with their children] and with teachers to grow professionally,” he said.  “The strength that Duxbury has is the support it gives.  If you have a question, you can call anyone in this district and they’ll give you their time and expertise.”

Despite the loss to DMS, both Scannell and Williams say that Thomson will be a great success in his new role in Mansfield.

“He’s learned the skills to be the principal of his own building and this is a wonderful promotion,” said Scannell.  “He has a strong commitment to middle schools and made wonderful connections with kids and that is important as well as his relationships with parents.”

While also sad to see him leave, Williams nows that Thomson is more than ready for his new role.

“He’s ready for a school of his own,” said Williams.  “I know and have respect for the Mansfield school system and I think he will be a good match.”

Scannell said that the search for Thomson’s replacement will start immediately with the goal to find a full-time successor by July.