This year, though, it will be the start of a different kind of road trip. At the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year, Thomas will be retiring from his duties as the Athletic Director at Galva-Holstein, the position he has held for the last 10 years, to begin "seeing places I've never seen" with his wife Ann, who is also retiring from her position as a Special Education instructor in the River Valley Community School District.
Thomas grew up in the small community of Huntertown, Indiana, graduating with the Class of 1968, and then received his Bachelor's Degree from the former Tarkio College in Tarkio, Missouri.
After graduation, Tim got his first teaching job, at the Middle School in Topeka, Kansas. He remained at the school for six years, teaching math and coaching "every sport you can think of," while also working towards his Master's Degree, which he received in 1976 from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.
In 1978, Thomas headed for Iowa, and a job teaching math in the Wilton School District. During his seven years there, Thomas also coached boys track, volleyball, and girls' basketball.
In 1984 and 1985, Thomas taught at Collins/Maxwell (IA) school and also served as a volunteer track coach at Iowa State University in Ames. In 1985, he began a six year stint as a teacher and coach (track, volleyball and basketball) in the Centerville School District, and it was the 1990-1991 school year that saw his arrival in Holstein.
Tim taught Middle School math for his first 10 years in the G-H District, then taught at the High School level for the next seven. He also coached cross country and track, and has retained the cross country position to this day. Lest anyone forget, Thomas also served as the head boys' basketball coach for five years.
Ten years ago, Thomas assumed the Athletic Director position at Galva-Holstein where, among his other accomplishments, he helped to get the shared GH/Schaller-Crestland football program started last season, and the formation of the Western Valley Conference this year.
He is also in charge of two annual high school track and field meets - the venerable Galva-Holstein Relays and the Russ Kraai Relays, named, of course, after one of his predecessors as Athletic Director (at Holstein High School), the legendary Russ Kraai.
Thomas also lines up the 7-8 Galva-Holstein Relays and, of course, schedules games, and lines up officials for the various contests. With all of this activity as an administrator, he had to give up his classroom teaching two years ago.
This year, Thomas will not be going out with a whimper, but rather with a bang. In addition to being in charge of the Galva-Holstein Relays on April 3 and the Russ Kraai Relays, scheduled for April 13, Galva-Holstein is also going to host the Class 1A District/Regional Co-Ed Track and Field Meet on Friday, May 15.
After that, he will take a deep breath, and prepare to "relax, enjoy ourselves, and not operate under any time schedule."
While his wife Ann has been in all but a handful of states, Tim has not been fortunate enough to get to as many. This fall, the couple have planned their first post-retirement vacation, and it will be to three of the unexplored states - Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Their travels are also bound to include trips to visit their children and grandchildren. Their oldest son, Josh, is a professor at Trinity College in Chicago, and he and his wife Jeannie are the proud parents of a daughter, Eden, now 14 months old - the Thomas' first grandchild. A beaming Thomas showed me a picture of the little beauty, and it was quite obvious he is very proud of her, and her parents. The Thomas' other son, Aaron, and his wife Jenny are also obvious objects of the coach's affection and pride. Aaron "seems to be following in his old man's footsteps," to use coach Thomas' own words, as he is serving as a math teacher and cross country coach in one of Iowa's fastest-growing school districts, Gilbert, located just north of Ames, and Jenny is the Middle School instrumental music instructor there.
In the Galva-Holstein newsletter, Thomas says, "I would like to thank everyone for their support and help over the last 19 years as an employee of the Galva-Holstein School District... I know that I will miss the people whom I can call my friends, but it is time for my wife and me to look to things other than school activities to fill our time ... We plan to stay here in Holstein, as we consider it our home."
Anyone who has been around elementary, middle school, and high school educators knows that they put in a lot of hours working with our kids, and always have to follow a tight time schedule in getting their work done.
Congratulations to Tim and Ann Thomas on successfully completing their careers guiding our youth, and they are wished a happy - and well-deserved - retirement.