Shawn Arnold has been selected as principal of Thunder Mountain High School, to begin that role with the new school year in late July. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Shawn Arnold has been selected as principal of Thunder Mountain High School, to begin that role with the new school year in late July. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

New principal picked for Thunder Mountain High School

It won’t change his commute too much.

The Juneau School District announced Shawn Arnold’s selection as the new principal for Thunder Mountain High School on Thursday afternoon.

Arnold is currently serving as Director of Student Services for the district, and publicly interviewed for the position Wednesday morning.

“It is an honor to join the team at Thunder Mountain High School,” said Arnold in a news release, “It is a place of outstanding teachers, students, and parents. I am also excited to bring my education and work experience to help build on such an excellent foundation.”

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Arnold previously served as superintendent of school districts in Valdez and Nome, as well as other leadership positions throughout the state. Arnold said he served in the military for more than 20 years, where he had many good mentors.

“We are excited to have Shawn take on this role at Thunder Mountain High School and join the staff in supporting students and families in the coming years,” said Superintendent Bridget Weiss in an email.

During the interviews, Arnold said TMHS was the kind of school with which he wants to work.

“There are a lot of strengths. I wouldn’t have put in for this job if I didn’t think this was a great school and it was a school I wanted to be part of,” Arnold said of TMHS during the Wednesday interview. “It’s got some of the best teachers I’ve seen in my career. There’s a lot of elements of success at this school.”

He also spoke of the need to stabilize the leadership at the school, which has had several interim principals in the last several years. Arnold also spoke of seeking additional funding for programs from sources outside the district.

“Going into a role where there has been turnover, the most important thing about establishing myself as a leader is establishing trust, making sure people can trust me, and establishing relationships,” Arnold said during the interview. “I’ve learned a lot of things not to do with school budgets. One of the responsibilities of a principal is to use their budget well but also look for other funding sources.”

Arnold will officially take the helm in late July with the new school year, according to the district.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or

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