By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published July 19, 2007
Technically Tom Campbell has always lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but said he has never received Southern hospitality like the welcome he has gotten during his two weeks in Georgia.
Campbell, a native of Maryland, has begun a new position for the Archdiocese of Atlanta as the associate superintendent of Catholic schools under Diane Starkovich, superintendent.
A product of Catholic education, Campbell said he and his family, which includes two daughters, ages 8 and 3, were looking for a change of pace from the busy Maryland and Washington, D. C., area. As a teacher and administrator in Catholic schools, he was also intrigued by a position in archdiocesan administration.
“The job itself seemed like a great challenge and something different,” he said. “I thought it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to learn and to contribute on a large scale. Plus, Atlanta seemed to be a little more family-friendly.”
Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Towson University, where he concentrated in history and secondary education. He later earned his master’s degree in historical studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He also earned certification as an administrator from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
He began his career teaching at an archdiocesan all-boys high school in east Baltimore. He soon became the director of admissions, but remained in the classroom, which he says, is “where (his) heart is.”
“Being so young and sitting on the principal’s staff and getting a behind-the-scenes look was very interesting. I was able to have an influence on the school, which was a big deal,” he said.
He remained at the school for four years until leaving for a school in the Archdiocese of Washington staffed by the Xaverian order. His wife was the retreat director there, and Campbell was hired as the admissions director and as a history teacher. He eventually moved into a role coordinating advanced placement classes and the International Baccalaureate program, all while teaching.
His new role in the Archdiocese of Atlanta will be his first position where he will not be in the classroom, Campbell said, and while he will miss it, he feels it is that passion that will drive his new focus.
“Any good administrator, whether on a school level or an archdiocesan level, has to have a love for teaching, first and foremost. I think having as your objective what is best for the students, whether you stand before a classroom or sit behind the desk, helps you to keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing,” he said. “Every initiative I take, I want to keep in mind what is best for the students. I also want to serve the teachers, and help them to do their job, as they’ll help me to do my job.”
Campbell will both be working with Starkovich to support her and on his own initiatives, he said.
“I really enjoy working with Diane and following her lead,” he said. “My background is in high school education and hers is in elementary education, so I think we will be able to complement each other very well as far as that goes.”
“My first priority is to get to know the schools and the principals, as well as the teachers and the families,” he said, adding that in his research he has already learned of the positive attributes of the schools.
“I have been very impressed with how good the schools are. They present themselves very well. They are very strong academically. They are fantastic in religious education and athletics and fine arts. I’m very impressed with how well-rounded they are, and what a commitment to excellence they have.”