Laura Tompkins to lead West Muskingum High School later this year


By Staff Report

West Muskingum High School will have a new but familiar face this fall when school resumes.

Laura Tompkins, who currently serves as principal of Zanesville High School, was selected by Superintendent Chad Shawger and West Muskingum’s School Board to be the high school’s next principal following the departure of Kevin Smith.

Tompkins, who will officially take over on August 1, says she is eager to start a new adventure.

She began her administrative career at National Road Elementary as an assistant principal, following 18 years as a physical education teacher at both the elementary and high school levels.

Tompkins was then appointed as interim principal at Zanesville High School in 2016 before ultimately being hired to the role permanently later that year.

During the past four-and-a-half-years, she received praise from students, staff and administrators for her ability to build a strong community within the high school, while also increasing academic performance.

Shawger said in his previous role as principal at Tri-Valley High School he had interactions with Tompkins, and when the position became available, she was at the top of his list.

“I have known Laura and reached out to her and asked if that was something that she would be willing to talk about,” said Shawger. “Her reputation is impeccable.”

Over 21 individuals applied to the position, but Tompkins was ultimately selected.

“She did great things at Zanesville, she’s a culture builder and we want her to continue to build the culture at West Muskingum,” Shawger said.

Smith, who is the current principal at West Muskingum, was recently selected to lead Crooksville School District as its next superintendent.

The decision was not easy for Tompkins, a 1988 graduate of Zanesville High School. She feels a strong bond to her students and staff but feels they are being left in great hands.

“It’s not really a goodbye,” Tompkins explained. “They have taught me all that I’ve known, and I want to take that forward and help other districts.”

As an alumni, she said she will always be a Blue Devil, but that she’s welcoming the start of a new adventure and saying hello to the West Muskingum Tornadoes.

“So it’s been hard,” Tompkins said trying to hold back tears, “but I’m ready for a new challenge.”