Page 10 - Salem Magazine Spring 2011
P. 10

 Your Salem
   Retiring Andrew Lewis Principal Jerry Campbell
          It’s often said that educators do Campbell got his diploma she already was an assistant principal for six and along the
not fully realize the fruits of their labor until much later in life.
working in Roanoke, so needless to say, he knew exactly where to begin the search for his all important first teaching job.
“The men I talked to in Roanoke City and Roanoke County each told me they had 1,000 people who wanted a teaching job,” he says. “I thought to myself there’s no way both of them could have a thousand applicants so, I went to the man in Roanoke City and told him that he wasn’t going to be able to find anyone better than me to teach. Looking back, that was a pretty bold thing to do since I had never actually taught a class.”
It was bold, but also very effective. His confidence not only put his application at the top of the heap, but it impressed the personnel director so much that before Campbell had made it back home he had a job offer. He began his life as an educator, teaching 8th grade geography at Jackson Middle School and helping coach football in the final year Lucy Addison was a high school in 1972.
The following year he moved to William Fleming to begin what would be a 16-year career at the campus-style high school. He taught social studies for 10 years, served as
way coached baseball and football, as well as boys and girls basketball with the likes of Sherley Stuart, Dickie Oliver, George “Kila” Miller, James Moore and John McGregor.
“Coaching really prepares you to do a lot of things that most people don’t give it credit for doing,” he says.
In 1989, the Roanoke City school system gave Campbell a chance to apply those lessons learned in athletics to an entire school as he was named principal at Addison Middle School. He was just settling in after his first year at Addison when he received a career changing call from another one of his former coaching comrades at William Fleming.
“Mike Bryant and I coached together at William Fleming and lived in the same subdivision back in the 1970s,” he says. “In the spring of 1990, he gave me a call and told me there might be a job for me over here in Salem.”
That job was the principal’s position at Andrew Lewis Middle School.
Retiring Andrew Lewis principal, Jerry Campbell, is living proof of that axiom.
In just a few months, Campbell will walk away from a distinguished 39-year career in education that has seen him talk his way into a teaching position, coach his way into the hearts and souls of hundreds of players and also influence thousands of students with his unique brand of discipline-based leadership.
“I am ready for whatever happens next and I‘m looking forward to retirement because I know I’m leaving the school in good hands,” he says. “The thing I will miss is the constant contact with the young people who kept me young – honestly they are hilarious.”
Campbell grew up in Augusta County and after graduating from Buffalo Gap High School he enrolled at Emory & Henry College. While at Emory, he was resourceful enough to not only earn his social studies degree, but also find his future wife, Cheryl, who was a year ahead of him academically. By the time
10 Salem Magazine Spring Issue 2011

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