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TSD Names Niki Van Essen as K-8 Principal for Thompson Connect Online

Niki Van Essen

May 6, 2021 - Thompson School District announced that it has named Niki Van Essen as K-8 Principal for Thompson Connect Online (TCO), which serves as the district’s on-line educational option for families who prefer a virtual educational setting for students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional programming information for all TCO students, including those in grades 9 through 12, is available at

Ms. Van Essen is currently serving as the Bullying Prevention Implementation Coordinator for the district, a position she has held since 2018.  Her experience in the district also includes work as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher, EdTech Collaborative Coach and Infinite Campus Coach at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School and an ESY Preschool Paraprofessional at the district level. Last summer, Ms. Van Essen coordinated Thompson School District’s “Link2Learning” K-5 virtual summer program.

"I am excited and honored to be joining the Thompson Connect Online community,” Ms. Van Essen said. “I am eager to support the continued development of the innovative opportunity that TCO offers and the chance to get to know the students, families and staff of this great program."

Ms. Van Essen earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of South Dakota and also holds a Masters of Education and Human Resource Studies from Colorado State University.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via email at