Lara Thompson graduated from Washington State University in 1992 with a bachelor's of arts degree in child, consumer and family studies and a minor in sociology. She began her employment with a private agency as a school-based case manager for homeless families whose children attended Seattle public schools. It was during this time that she began and developed her interest in bridging the communications gap between schools and families to support the social, emotional and educational well-being of children. Thompson obtained her master's degree in social work with a concentration in school social work from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a strong interest in educational advocacy for children and youth in foster care.
Thompson has worked in the area of social services for more than 25 years, where she has provided direct services in the areas of teen pregnancy, therapeutic foster care, mentoring and educational advocacy. She began working for the Washington state Children’s Administration in 1997, and held social work positions in Child Welfare Family Services and Family Reconciliation Services. In 1999, she received the Outstanding Social Worker Award by the Foster Care Assessment Program, and in 2000 she was nominated by her supervisor and received an Outstanding Social Worker Award by the Department of Social and Health Services. She also developed curriculum and provided training for new employees with the Children’s Administration Training Academy for seven years.
Ms. Thompson started her position with the School of Social Work in August 2008 as a field instructor with the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP). In 2010, her students nominated her, and she received the Outstanding Field Instructor for Mentorship Award.