A local teacher has received the highest state honor bestowed upon an educator. Amy Campbell, a Camas School District special education teacher and ESD 112’s Regional Teacher of the Year, has been named the Washington State Teacher of the Year. The state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) awarded Campbell with the honor at a statewide ceremony on September 9 in Seattle.
Campbell has worked the past 12 years at Helen Baller Elementary where she serves children with moderate to profound disabilities.
The award is not a surprise to those who know Campbell and her passion for teaching.
“No one deserves this award more than Amy and we’re so proud of her,” said Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell. “She is an amazing advocate for public education and will be an outstanding representative for teachers throughout our state,” he added.
Campbell’s commitment to and perseverance toward inclusion for all students truly stands out. She has made inclusion a top priority in her classroom to ensure that no child feels unsupported while they are at school.
“I believe in the power of inclusion for all learners…and seeing students from a perspective of their ability to contribute rather than their deficits,” Campbell said.
Campbell joined regional teachers of the year from the eight other ESDs in the state. Her passion to ensure students with special needs get the same quality education as their peers really stood out to the selection panel.
“I believe that there is inherent value in helping the struggling student,” Campbell said, “and I have seen the beauty and benefit when all students achieve together.”
Campbell’s efforts are particularly effective because she acknowledges that “inclusion is not a one size fits all model.” Every child is unique and has their own needs when it comes to being included and feeling a part of the whole school community, and Campbell makes sure to tailor learning activities towards her students’ particular needs.
Campbells’ enthusiasm and passion for implementing inclusion in the classroom doesn’t stop with her students. She frequently invites and encourages her colleagues and others in her community to work towards understanding the critical need for inclusion of all students in their educational experiences.
“Amy has the ability to inspire team members to contribute to and celebrate student successes and that’s what makes her a unique teacher and leader,” said Jessica Bullock, Helen Baller Elementary School’s Speech-Language Pathologist. “I am excited to see how she inspires countless other educators, families and students…as Washington State Teacher of the Year.”
Campbell regularly makes the effort to further her own professional development in order to stay ahead of trends in the dynamic world of public education. She frequently communicates and collaborates with her colleagues in special education to be informed of best practices in the classroom.
“I work hard to be knowledgeable and collaborative,” Campbell said, “because I believe we need to provide all students the opportunity to experience the joy of a community achieving success together and helping each other so no learner is left behind or excluded.”
As part of her tenure, Campbell will travel the state this year, speaking to students and representing Washington’s educators. As Washington State’s Teacher of the Year, Campbell will also now be considered for the highly prestigious National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in early 2020.
To learn more about past Teacher of the Year winners and the process to nominate a teacher, visit https://ospi.k12.wa.us/educator-support/awards-recognition/educator-awards/teacher-year.