New vice principal brings opportunity

Thomas Shannon finds the place he “wants to be for a while”

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Abigail Vondy, Editor in Chief

As the first quarter rolls to an end, the new face in Eaton High’s administration becomes familiar. Vice Principal Thomas Shannon has quickly adapted to the new position and is already positively impacting the lives of the students. Although Shannon entered the school during a global pandemic, his attitude towards involvement and equality has stayed persistent. 

Shannon has already spearheaded a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion club to get a better understanding of the students at EHS. He is dedicated to improving the social environment within the school and hopes to make the high school experience more enjoyable for all.  “I want to make sure all students have access to a great education and that all students feel like they are a part of the school. That all students are coming and receiving the best education support and are provided with everything they need to be the best person they can be,” he said.

In high school, Shannon’s life revolved around baseball. In fact, baseball ultimately led him to where he is today. During his four years in high school in Fresno, California, Shannon worked tirelessly for his grades. He understood that his grades needed to be good in order to succeed in playing ball. But academics didn’t come easy to him. He had to spend more time studying and taking lots of notes in order to understand the material. After high school, Shannon went on to college to play baseball. He attended junior college at Fresno City College, then went to  University of Miami on a baseball scholarship, and finished his senior year at Fresno State. With his degree in Communications, Shannon wasn’t sure what path his life would take.

In 2006, an opportunity emerged itself in the Clovis Unified School District in Clovis, California. Shannon became a baseball coach and soon afterward, a teacher. Shannon fell in love with the work, and was shortly offered a special education position in the district and quickly found a new passion. “When I got into special education, it gave me a different lens. I saw kids who had challenges that they had no control over. Learning disabilities, environmental factors, health issues, and all these other outside factors that were preventing them from having opportunities and being successful in a school setting,” he said. 

Shannon was then selected to oversee a new program in the district that helped 5-12 graders who were struggling in school. For this position, Shannon had to choose between his love for coaching or the new program. After following his heart, he became the transition coordinator for the program. Shannon oversaw a team that advocated and provided for the kids in the district who needed extra support. 

After a few years as the transition coordinator, Shannon and his family moved out to Colorado for new opportunities. With his two children, Cole and Katelyn, and his wife Tracy, he began his new adventure. In 2017, he worked at Thompson School district for a year as a prevention specialist. He then spent the next two years at an alternative school in Brighton called Innovations and Options. 

Through experiencing all different types of districts, Shannon found his love in small schools with traditions and strong communities. This love gravitated him towards Eaton. He is impressed with the community and pride of this small town and is happy to be a part of it all. “I’m very grateful to be here. I am going to try my best to do what’s best for the kids, staff, and for Eaton,” he said.

In his free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with family. He also loves to hike, camp, paddle board, and be adventurous. Watching college football is also one of his favorite things to do, and he can’t wait to experience Eaton’s famous Friday Night Lights. 

Shannon can’t wait to see what the school year will bring and is already proud of being an Eaton Red. “I think I’ve finally found the place I want to be for a while,” he said.