Dr. Donald Thornton Jr.
Principal-Lafayette High School
Northwestern State University Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Master’s in Educational Leadership
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Doctorate in Educational Leadership
Dr. Thornton was born in Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers!). Raised in the South, he lived in Alabama for much of his childhood before moving to Louisiana in the early 1990s. Dr. Thornton was a product of Louisiana public schools. He attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA, where he received his undergraduate degree, before continuing his education locally, earning two degrees from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Dr. Thornton began his career in Lafayette Parish as a social studies teacher at Ovey Comeaux High School. Moving into district administration first, Dr. Thornton was Project Director/Curriculum Coach of two Teaching American History Grants. These grants focused on high quality professional development for LPSS social studies teachers. He then began his school-based administration career at Lafayette High School, serving as assistant principal for two years. Dr. Thornton then served as assistant principal at Paul Breaux Middle School for two years. Most recently, Dr. Thornton served the district as principal at Lafayette Middle School. Once a Lion, always a Lion!
Some of the additional areas that Dr. Thornton has participated in include: worked with teachers across Louisiana and the state department to write/revise American History and Civics curriculum standards and also serves on the Alternative School Task Force, the Faith and Character Task Force, and a task force assisting Human Resources. In addition, Dr. Thornton is currently the only LPSS principal participating in the National SAM Innovation Project, which he piloted as principal at LMS this past school year. This project integrates a specialized calendar software to help the principal focus on one of the most important roles-that of instructional leader of the school. Dr. Thornton intends to continue his work with the SAM project as principal of LHS. He will also work with other principals across the district as the SAM project is expanded into other schools.
His wife, Rhonda, also works for LPSS with the GEAR Up program. Their family includes four children-Savannah, Jamie, Emily, and Noah-two of which are recent graduates of Lafayette High School. Dr. Thornton notes that he hopes to bring to LHS a rejuvenation of school spirit, collaboration, and raising student/school achievement.