Thompson taking over as director of Special Services

Steve Chapman



AG R-4’s new hire will replace Dr. Erica Long, who is taking new role at Logan-Rogersville
Hannah Thompson will be Ash Grove R-IV’s new director of Special Services in the 2024-25 school year. She succeeds Dr. Erica Long, who held the position for eight years.
Thompson comes to the district after serving the Willard R-II School District for two years as a special education process coordinator at Willard High School. Prior to that, she was a special education teacher at Republic.
Thompson said she wanted the special services position because it matches her personality.
“At my core, I am an advocate,” she said. “I love to help people find their voice and see their potential. I enjoy working with families to connect them to resources that can drastically impact and improve their student’s quality of life, both during school and in the post-secondary setting. As the director of Special Services, I will be responsible for many student programs and ensuring federal programs are implemented ethically as we support students of all abilities. I am looking forward to stepping into this leadership role as I serve the students, families, and staff in Ash Grove.”
As Special Services director, Thompson said many of her responsibilities will mirror what she currently does at Willard but will also provide her with the opportunity to serve in different ways as well.

“Many of my new responsibilities will be similar to my responsibilities in my current role regarding 504s and ensuring IEPs are in place to provide FAPE. However, my new role as director of Special Services in Ash Grove will allow me to expand my impact by serving in additional roles such as overseeing compliance and ELL education. This role covers such a broad spectrum of responsibilities. My role in Ash Grove will be a larger scope, and that is very exciting for me.”
Thompson said she is excited to start working at Ash Grove.
“I can’t wait to meet the people that I’ll get to work with and the students that I will get to serve,” she said. “I am looking forward to learning about the Ash Grove community and finding where I can best fit in. Dr. Erica Long has made such an impact here and has left some really big shoes to fill. I am so excited to step into this role to offer my experience, mindset, and perspective as Ash Grove continues to move forward with providing students with exceptional services and support necessary for them to achieve their goals.”
Changing of the guard
While preparing to welcome Thompson, the district is also saying goodbye to Long, who will be going to the Logan-Rogersville School District, where she will be the executive director of Special Services. Long recently earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Southwest Baptist University.
Long, an Ash Grove High School graduate, has worked at Ash Grove for 11 years; before coming to Ash Grove she taught special education for three years at Republic High School. At Ash Grove, she was a special education teacher for three years, one year at the elementary school and two at the high school, before becoming director of Special Services.
Asked why she was making the move to Logan-Rogersville, Long said she was looking to take her career to a new level.
“(I wanted to) pursue an opportunity to further my career in the field of education,” she said.


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