When Boothbay Region High School opens in September, students will be greeted by the school’s first woman principal, Tricia Campbell. Campbell is currently serving as interim principal for BRHS and has been assistant principal at Boothbay Region Elementary School for five years.
Campbell said it has been an interesting time stepping in to take on duties at BRHS as students learn and teachers teach from home. “This has been a challenging year for all of us, but I am a team player and was glad to step up and help however and wherever I was needed. My parents taught me the power of service to others. I have maintained my focus on school leadership and have a passion for learning and growing.”
Campbell came to the Boothbay region in summer 1995 after earning her bachelor’s degree in communications from Colby-Sawyer College. She accompanied her college roommate, native Sarah Bryant Grant, to have some fun and work in the local restaurants. That’s when she met her now husband, Jason. And when she returned home after summer was through, she discovered her heart was in the Harbor.
When Campbell came back, she began working as a special education technician during the school year and continued working in the local restaurants in the summer. Shortly after this introduction to the field, she began to work as a special education teacher while pursuing her Master’s in Education: Curriculum and Instruction at Lesley University.
After obtaining her M. Ed., Campbell worked in the Wiscasset schools for 18 years. Much of her time was spent as lead teacher – a teaching/assistant principal combination – at then Wiscasset Middle School. Campbell worked with students with learning and emotional disabilities, Autism and cognitive delays, and took on many support and leadership roles with the encouragement and support of her educational mentors.
“… While I love teaching, it seemed I was destined for a leadership role and was encouraged by those mentors and colleagues to make the move. When the assistant principal position at BRES – my community’s school – opened, I had to apply.”
When she got the job, both of her children, Rose and Grace, were already attending BRES. Campbell said that made the opportunity to be a leader in the schools and to make a difference that much more rewarding. Now, with Grace having moved on to BRHS, Campbell’s own move down the hill has become surreal as she leaves those she considers family.
“The children and the adults at BRES are my family. Their families are my extended family. They have my heart and will never be without it! There is a wonderful feeling of community and support inside of BRES. I hope that I have contributed to that and that I have served them well.”
Campbell said that between her duties as interim principal and navigating distance learning, she has not had the chance to say goodbye to her fellow BRES educators. “But in my new role as principal at BRHS, I am not sure I have to. I will let folks know that I am just next door continuing to learn, grow, lead and hopefully inspire continued success for our school system.”
Taking the same enthusiasm to BRHS she has become known for at BRES, Campbell said she is thrilled to have the support of BRHS’s talented, dedicated staff.
Campbell considers herself an incredibly lucky educator having worked with students from pre-k to grade 12 in both special and regular instruction. “I am a teacher’s teacher. I have co-taught, mentored and collaborated with other teachers and other professionals throughout my career. While the ages and experience of the students are different, my philosophy of meeting each child where they are and providing them the tools to build the confidence to move forward to success is the same at every age.”
As she takes on her new post at BRHS, Campbell hopes to continue working with BRES Principal Shawna Kurr to keep projects going, particularly finishing off the third through eighth grade playground with the long awaited Gaga Pit.
“Shawna and I are two very strong leaders. I’ve heard folks call us the dynamic duo … My unique experience of having been a school leader at both BRES and BRHS provides a great opportunity to successfully connect the schools … We are committed to providing the best education for our students and the strongest, most effective leadership for our schools. I have no doubt we will continue to make a great team.”
Campbell plans to continue exploring community connections and paths for all students and to increase cross-discipline opportunities and to create opportunities for professional collaborations between teachers, departments and “school-to-community.” The collective talent and knowledge among staff and community members offers potential for exciting and inspiring multiple pathways to learning, she said.
“We each learn differently and are inspired by making connections. I hope that we can continue to grow our programs at BRHS with each child’s individual strengths and needs driving our decisions.”