"I feel like I need to give something back," he added.
After his years in El Centro, Thomason went on to attain a bachelor's degree in history with minors in math and physical education from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his teaching credential from San Diego's National University and his master's degree in education administration from the University of Redlands.
In 1994, Thomason began teaching math, science and social science at Holtville High School where he also coached baseball and football.
By 1998, Thomason was principal at Pine School in Holtville while he also served as projects director for Holtville Unified School District.
Last year Thomason was principal at Emmett Finley School in Holtville.
Thomason said he is excited about his new position at McKinley and with the ECESD, in part, because of the district's involvement with the Open Court reading program, Valle Imperial Project in Science and the new Valle Imperial Mathematics Teacher Enhancement Project.
"I really think that they're at the forefront of change. I want to be part of that," Thomason said.
His goal this year is to "continue the tradition that McKinley has established. Their (standardized test) scores have continually gone up the last three or four years," Thomason said.
Thomason lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their 2-year-old son, Brad, in Imperial.
McKinley's former principal, Cheryl Biagi, is the new principal at Wilson Junior High School in El Centro.
Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.