After 29 years of serving the students, staff, and families of Washington Unified, Superintendent Joey Campbell announced his retirement earlier this year. The announcement caused many to reflect on the positive impact Campbell has had on the students and staff of Washington Unified.
Campbell is best known for his “students first” approach to leadership. Whether making decisions or interacting with students, Campbell is always thinking about ways that he can improve the lives of students. “Mr. Campbell has positively influenced myself and many others with his genuine approach to serving students,” states Assistant Superintendent and Campbell’s successor, Randy Morris. “Joey Campbell is a kind and compassionate leader who will be dearly missed.”
Campbell has a long history with the schools of Washington Unified, having lived in the Easton community throughout his life. Campbell attended Pacific Union Elementary School and graduated from WUHS in 1974 before going on to earn a Bachelors of Science degree in Industrial Technology from California State University Fresno in 1978. After working in the private sector from 1978 through 1989, he joined the teaching staff at Washington Union High School serving as a Woodshop and Art teacher.
“One of the things I appreciate more is that he jumps in and helps with any project taking place. Nothing is ever beneath him. I remember him teaching in the classroom and the students truly enjoyed his classes; I think, in part, because he enjoyed them and what he was doing,” remembers Administrative Services Director, Cathy Green.
Campbell later took on the role of State and Federal Projects Administrator and Technology Coordinator for WUHS, before advancing to a vice principalship. In 2002, he was chosen to serve as the WUHS Principal. During his tenure, he would lead the school towards ten years of sustained API growth, resulting in WUHS being the only high school in Fresno County to exit State Program Improvement status in 2009. Campbell was later named an Assistant Superintendent of the Washington Unified School District, where he successfully led the district in establishing it’s current solar projects and its Measure “W” campaign before being named the district’s Superintendent in 2016. Curriculum Director, Dr. Annie Sharp, has worked for Superintendent Campbell for 16 years. “Joey always puts the needs of students ahead of the desires of adults,” stated Sharp, “He has transformed this district with his leadership and the structures he has put in place have given many students hope for a successful college or career experience.“
Throughout his years of service, Campbell remained committed to improving student achievement through building positive relationships with students, staff, and the community. “Joey Campbell has always been an inspirational leader. He has taught me to lead by example, always putting students first, “ stated Human Resources Director, Sophia Rizzo. He has remained passionate about connecting students and staff to a meaningful purpose “beyond simply doing,” in order to help them reach their personal goals and dreams.
Washington Unified wishes Superintendent Campbell well as he takes on his next adventure in retirement.
This article was previously published in the May 2018 edition of The Grapevine, print edition.