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Ms. Erin Campbell Returns to Westwood as Assistant Principal

Amy Vo, School News Editor

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Photo courtesy of Assistant Principal Erin Campbell.

When Ms. Erin Campbell decided to apply for the assistant principal position at Westwood, it was a family decision. Her first day away from being assistant principal at Anderson High School would also be the first day that she and her husband didn’t work at the same school. However, after successfully passing the hiring process and making the decision to accept the job offer, Ms. Campbell made her return to an even older family – the family she had at Westwood 17 years ago before graduating from high school.

Ms. Campbell worked at Anderson for nine years as a dance director, then served for three years as an assistant principal. Her experiences working with students, parents, and faculty at Anderson led her to develop an educational philosophy based on reaching out to establish personal connections with others and working to help them develop to full potential.

“Everyone wakes up in the morning and wants to do their best, and it’s my job to either try to bring that out in them or do what I can to help them achieve that,” Ms. Campbell said. “[I] find that mindset where you know that growth is possible.”

As an assistant principal, Ms. Campbell believes that her growth mindset will help her make a difference at Westwood, helping to build a positive atmosphere, but equally important are the creative skills she draws from her background in dance.

“Innovating and trying to come up with new ideas is something that comes naturally to me from my dance background because I had to constantly have that way of looking at things,” Ms. Campbell said. “For me as an administrator, it helps me tackle issues that come because it enables me to think outside the box.”

In addition to Ms. Campbell’s responsibilities organizing big picture projects such as the textbook distribution before school starts, her duties as an assistant principal also include interacting with students to receive input on school policies and discover issues that may need to be handled at Westwood.

“A lot of the times students think, ‘If I need something, then I go to my counselor,’ but as an assistant principal, that’s absolutely a role that I enjoy fulfilling too,” Ms. Campbell said. “Whether it’s venting about about a problem or talking about a social system or concerns about a class or whatever, I love to be able to plug in and assist with any variety of student issues.”

Aside from having experience as an effective communicator, Ms. Campbell has also worked in the past with Special Education, something she will once again contribute to at Westwood. She will also be working with Career Technology Education (CTE) to help different programs throughout Westwood connect and to enable students to find their place in school.

“For me, one of the things that made my high school experience awesome was that I found a place to belong, SunDancers,” Ms. Campbell said. ”I was passionate about dance, and that became my niche at Westwood. For me, that’s something I look for, to help students find their niche, making sure there’s a variety of programming that can appeal to every student and helping students to connect to those programs.”

Despite having past experience as a student at Westwood and an assistant principal at Anderson, Ms. Campbell believes that returning to Westwood is a new experience requiring observation and an open mind.

“I don’t pretend to come in here and think that this is the Westwood that I went to,” Ms. Campbell said. “I know there’s been a lot of growth that happened in that time, but I definitely know two things: that there’s no one-size-fits-all and that what worked at Anderson isn’t necessarily going to work at Westwood. As adults, we could plan the moon, but if students aren’t invested in that and if they don’t think it’s going to work for them, then it’s not going to work. It really ultimately takes student voice and student buy-in for anything to be successful.”

With team support and a central vision for Westwood, Ms. Campbell hopes to achieve her goals, working in areas such as student stress, the hiring process, and seeking student input.

“Mr. Acosta has been really passionate this summer about talking about Westwood’s vision,” Ms. Campbell said. “To me, it’s important to have a central guiding vision, to make sure that the people who come onto this campus are in alignment with what everyone is doing, that everyone’s going to row together. Knowing that I’ve got people here to support me is really cool.”

As the school year starts up again, Ms. Campbell hopes to be able to familiarize herself with Westwood students and culture in order to find ways to help the most that she can.

“I’m excited to get to know students, so I would be encouraged and grateful for students coming up and introducing themselves,” Ms. Campbell said. “I want to be a good learner for the first few months I’m here, I just need to soak in things and that will help me be able to make good decisions and move forward.”

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