Longtime anchor Tara Thomas to leave KWWL for more family time - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Longtime anchor Tara Thomas to leave KWWL for more family time

Tara Thomas Tara Thomas

A longtime anchor at KWWL announced Tuesday she would be stepping down to take a position with a local school district.

Thomas announced Tuesday afternoon that she has accepted a position with the Waterloo School District. Pending school board approval during their March 11 meeting, Thomas will leave KWWL later this year.

For over ten years, Tara Thomas has brought news to Eastern Iowa, first as co-anchor of "Today In Iowa," then as co-anchor of KWWL's evening newscasts with veteran anchor Ron Steele.

"Tara approached us when this opportunity presented itself," said Vice President and General Manager Jim McKernan. "When she explained her reasoning and motivation, we gave our full support.

"KWWL is a very family-centric organization," McKernan added. "Tara understandably places high value on her family, and so do we. She's been a tremendous asset to KWWL, and we will truly miss her, but ultimately we want her to be happy."

The decision doesn't come lightly for Thomas, who has a decorated journalism career and loved every aspect of her job.

Ultimately, it came down to family.

"I am excited for a new chapter in my career as the Director of Community and School Relations for the Waterloo Community School District," said Thomas. "With two young children and a husband who is a Waterloo teacher, I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity that will allow me to spend more time with my family and keep us in the Cedar Valley.

"KWWL has given me a decade of incredible experiences and lifelong friendships," she continued. "Though no longer sitting beside Ron every weeknight is going to be a huge change, I'll still be watching!"

Thomas went on to thank all of the Eastern Iowa viewers for thousands of smiles and handshakes, supportive blog comments and all of the mornings and evenings they invited her into their homes.

News Director Dan Schillinger praised Thomas' work at KWWL.

"Tara has set the bar very high for everyone who follows," Schillinger said. "Beyond what viewers see on TV, Tara has spent countless hours helping a variety of civic organizations, donating her time and talents to make our community a better place."

Thomas grew up in Peoria, IL and began her TV career at KIMT in Mason City after graduating from Boston University in 1995. She went to KIMA in Yakima, Washington a year later as an anchor/producer, soon transitioning to evening anchor where she stayed for seven years.

In 2002, she came to KWWL as a weekend morning anchor/reporter and soon transitioned to morning and noon anchor for five years.

In 2007, Thomas was promoted to main co-anchor with Ron Steele.

Since the birth of her son in 2008, Thomas has written a mommy blog called "Baby Steps" that gave readers a peek into her life as a working mother of two little ones. "Baby Steps" will end when Thomas leaves the station in August, but she is grateful to have a virtual baby book to give to her children.

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