Camas teacher wins state award

Amy Campbell has been a special education teacher working with children with moderate to profound disabilities at Helen Baller Elementary School in Camas for 12 years

CAMAS — Earlier this week, Camas special education teacher and Educational Service District (ESD) 112’s Regional Teacher of the Year Amy Campbell was announced as the Washington State Teacher of the Year. The state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) held its annual awards ceremony at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

Amy Campbell
Amy Campbell

Campbell has been a special education teacher working with children with moderate to profound disabilities at Helen Baller Elementary School in Camas for 12 years. According to ESD 112 officials, “as anyone who knows her and has worked with her will tell you, no one deserved this award more than her.’’

“We’re so excited for and proud of Amy,” said Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell. “She is so deserving of this award and she is an amazing advocate for public education.”

As more and more schools and districts across the state and country are making significant strides toward supporting the whole child in their programs, Campbell’s commitment to and perseverance toward inclusion for all students truly stands out.

“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.

What distinguished Campbell among her colleagues from the eight other ESDs in Washington was her obvious passion for helping students with special needs get the same quality of education as their peers. Campbell has made inclusion a top priority in her classroom to ensure that no child feels unsupported while they are at school.

“I believe that there is inherent value in modeling helping the struggling student,” Campbell said, “and I have seen the beauty and benefit when all students achieve together.”

Campbell’s efforts towards inclusion for all students 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.”

Even after 12 years as an educator, 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, the winner of which will be announced in early 2020.

Information provided by Educational Service District 112.

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