Theresa Campbell, the interim principal for Blue Heron Middle School and the OCEAN Parent Partnership Program for the 2018-2019 school year, met with members of the public Aug. 17 to introduce herself to the community.
The St. Paul native recounted how she spent 18 years teaching fourth through sixth grade in her former home state of Minnesota, before embarking on a career in the “Highly Capable” and special education fields roughly a decade ago.
It was in 2013 that Campbell began working in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a nationwide educational specialty she intends to introduce to the students of Blue Heron and OCEAN.
“Through PBIS, we can instruct our students on what positive behavior looks like,” said Campbell, who also became active in ADSIS, or Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services, for providing additional instruction to students who are at a remedial level.
Subsequent stints in the K-8 and K-12 grades in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts, respectively, allowed Campbell to train teachers and administrators alike in Hi-Cap, PBIS, ADSIS and International Baccalaureate educational programs, the latter of which focuses on critical thinking and independent study.
In the St. Paul School District alone, Campbell was working with 35,000 students in 65 different schools, applying the techniques of AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, for the benefit of first-generation college students, to show them how to succeed in higher education.
Theresa and her husband Will had already been looking to move long-term to the Pacific Northwest when they “fell in love” with the Olympic Peninsula, along with Theresa's son Chase, who had originally planned to stay in Minnesota, but is transferring to Port Townsend High School for his senior year this school year, complete with a stint on the football team.
“He fell in love with the area too,” Campbell said, whose family in Port Townsend also includes two shelter puppies. “I'm going to take my time to get to know what this school needs. I came from living a community about twice the size of Port Townsend, but it's nice to settle down in a similarly suburban town.”
When one of the parents asked what the community could do to make her transition proceed more smoothly, Campbell took the time to praise what she'd already heard about the school's families.
“I've heard a lot of good things about how much you all volunteer, and how much knowledge you have and contribute, so I suppose I'd say, just continue to do what you've already done,” Campbell said. “All I can ask is that you give me some time, because I'm sure I'll have a learning curve here. I almost feel bad for those of you who showed up tonight because you'll get to hear me say this same stuff again on our back-to-school night.”