Ida S. Baker award winner, Mrs. Christine Campbell, takes a look back at her incredible year
That is a word Mrs. Christine Campbell uses frequently when discussing her past year. It started when she was nominated by her school, Van Buren Middle, as the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year.
It’s an honor she appreciated but never really expected.
For Mrs. Campbell, it’s all about the kids. She’s been a social worker for 12 years—she says it’s her calling. She spends her days, and many evenings, making sure her students, and their families, have whatever they need to survive and succeed.
She’s constantly focused on the needs of her students and her school.
She’s so focused, in fact, that the day the Surprise Patrol showed up at her school to crown her a district finalist—she didn’t even notice them!
“When I went downstairs, I walked right through the group!” She said with a laugh. “I walked right through, cause my focus was on my administrator who needed to see me. And then, when I slowed down, I noticed, they’re smiling at you! This is for you! And I just lost it, I couldn’t believe it!”
Mrs. Campbell was one of four district finalists for the Ida S. Baker award, as part of Excellence in Education. After the Surprise Patrol, she, and the other finalists, had to go before a committee which included Superintendent Jeff Eakins and other members of the Hillsborough County Public Schools Cabinet. From there, the decision was made.
The night of the awards ceremony was an exciting, overwhelming experience, according to Mrs. Campbell. The ceremony is held each year at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. It’s an elegant evening to honor and appreciate the best educators in our county. Mrs. Campbell was surrounded by support from her school and her family, “I was behind the curtains just waiting—and they called my name! I was like WHOA, did they just call my name? Did they really just call my name? And it was mind-blowing, really unbelievable”.
As the Ida S. Baker award winner, Mrs. Campbell has had a whirlwind year filled with special appearances, public speaking, meeting dignitaries, and, of course, continuing her passion of working with children. She says winning the award has provided her with countless opportunities and the chance to grow and advocate for the best interests of her students.
She’s excited for the future and also excited for the incredible year that awaits the next winner. “Just be ready for the fast pace,” is her advice to her successor. “Be ready to be blown over, be ready for excitement, be ready for new opportunities, and life-changing experiences. Just be ready to have doors open!”
Tickets are now available for the 2019 EIE award's ceremony, January 24th at the Straz Center for Performing Arts! http://bit.ly/EIE2019
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