Amy Campbell

Senior Specialist, Texas IMPACT

acampbell@niet.org

Amy joins NIET at the close of a 36-year career in a variety of educational settings including international, parochial, private, public, and charter schools. She served as TAP master teacher and district executive master teacher for nine of the last 12 years of service in public education. These opportunities, in multiple educational settings with learners of all ages and skills topped off with ever-growing TAP knowledge and experiences, are particularly useful in her senior specialist role.

Classroom teacher, lead teacher, co-teacher, mentor teacher, master teacher, volleyball/basketball/soccer coach, school curriculum coordinator, disciplinarian, instructional facilitator, turnaround specialist, district science curriculum writing team member, and numerous other assignments provided unique and diverse vantage points that expanded skills in teaching, learning, leading, and coaching. Early in her career, Amy recognized her passion for coaching - helping others succeed. While trying to convince Amy to coach junior high school girls' soccer, Coach Strohmeyer shared his wisdom: "Coaching is motivating others. If you can coach anything, you can coach anything. The rest is just the X’s and O’s of the game." She anchors her work in this truth and attributes her successes as an educator-coach to her experiences on the courts and fields of sports.

Amy loves learning – she learns from every experience and every person she encounters. Throughout her career she enjoyed learning from amazing colleagues, gifted professors, and top-notch administrators. But she considers her most resourceful, creative, problem-solving, industrious, and unequivocally honest teachers in her career to be her students.

 Amy  Campbell

What accomplishment are you most proud of through your work at NIET?

NIET’s work is the right work - evidenced by the growth and impact of all who engage in it. My own understanding of the complexities of this thing we do called education continues to grow daily. I think about my skills and knowledge about teaching and learning before I dove into the deep end of TAP. I was a well-respected educator, but I didn't really know what I knew or how to accurately label it and share it with others. Once I began to wrap my mind around the best practices of teaching and learning, I readily saw how the power to unlock learning is truly in the hands of the teacher. My personal growth initially stunned and impressed me - now it's my belief system and way of life.

Even more than my own growth, I am proud of the widespread impact this power to unlock learning has on others within my sphere of influence. It is contagious. Specific administrators, teachers, and students come to mind, but there's not enough space for that novel. What everyone needs to know is this: Whether you are an inexperienced, over-experienced, motivated, or unmotivated teacher; insecure and reluctant or enthusiastic student; frustrated or "rocking it" administrator, this work will transform and empower you, if you want it to.

What was your favorite subject in school?

Not all subjects were my favorite. My favorite subject in school varied from year to year - it always depended on the teacher. 

I remember hating geometry until Mr. Bartlett sent a note to my parents telling them how impressed he was with me. "Amy’s perseverance in a subject she found difficult is impressive. I am proud of her."   

I loved English Composition because Mrs. Lucas held personal conferences with us about our writing each week. Everyone got a turn to sit in a corner of the classroom and get individual attention. When I write, I can still hear her ask me, "What is another way to say the same thing with the same or greater impact using fewer words?"

At the beginning of my methods semester, I wished terrible things would happen to my Math Methods professor. He pushed and challenged me to levels of discomfort and pain that made me question my career choice at a point I thought was far too late in the game. Despite first impressions, Dr. Dennis Joseph was just what I needed! Placing a coat hanger and clothespins on my desk, he said, "Show me how to divide 12 by 4." I wondered if that meant three groups of four or four groups of three because I knew he was making a distinction between 12÷4 and 12÷3. Dr. Joseph made me love and succeed in content I thought was my greatest weakness.

These are only three of my many "favorite subjects." If the teacher made the difference, imagine what this answer would be if the question asked was, "What was your least favorite subject in school and why?"

Who is your favorite teacher?

My favorite teachers are my students. Students are the most important people in a classroom, so knowing them is an essential key to successful teaching. I love learning from those I am hired to teach. Student misconceptions/misunderstandings help me understand the way they think and help me re-imagine instruction. Student insight illuminates new perspectives and ideas I can never think of on my own. I am forever grateful for two stand-out teachers who came into my life within my first 8 years of teaching:

Justin, a severely dyslexic second grader and later sixth through eighth grade science student in my class, taught me that my teaching had to reach every single child. I learned the power of ownership and collaboration through problem-solving planning meetings with Justin and his sweet mom.

Billy, a frequent flyer in detention, taught me to engage hands and minds if you want your students to join the learning process. I also learned that students love cognitive challenges, and if the teacher doesn’t provide those challenges, students will find their own.