An experienced educator from central Massachusetts has been named as the new director of student support services for the Martha’s Vineyard public schools.
Philip Campbell, current director of pupil services for the Auburn public school district, will begin sometime in mid-November, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said.
“What appealed was really the sense of community,” Mr. Campbell told the Gazette in a telephone conversation Tuesday about his decision to take the job. “From what I had known of the Island and the separate towns, it seemed to me it was a group of people I’d like to join with.”
Mr. Campbell traveled to the Island for a second interview and tour of schools last Wednesday, and was offered the position Monday morning. Contract negotiations are still pending.
The position has been open since interim director of support services, Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, signed on as West Tisbury principal in late June. Her predecessor in the special education position, Lynn Silva, resigned four days after starting on July 1 of 2012, citing personal and health reasons. Before her, Dan Seklecki held the position for 30 years.
Mr. Weiss said he is confident that Mr. Campbell has the training to succeed in the demanding, “more-than-full-time” role that oversees the support services offered to all children of the district, including special education, guidance, early childhood and residential services.
Prior to beginning work in Auburn schools in 2011, Mr. Campbell served for about three years as executive director of the National Children’s Center, an organization serving children with developmental disabilities in Washington, D.C. He holds a master of education in leadership from Worcester State University, and has worked in 10 other educational leadership capacities, according to his resume. He said he and the Island school district share the goal of helping students with complex learning styles, reach their full potential.
His current post in Auburn is very similar to the one he will assume on the Island, he said. “I think that my transition professionally will be very simple,” he said. “I know the regulations and laws well. I know about different learning styles . . . and the importance of working with families,” he said.
Mr. Weiss also said a process to modify the position of director of student support services to make it more manageable will begin once the new hires in the central office have secured their footing. Two other recent hires in the central office include a new assistant superintendent Matthew D’Andrea, who will start before Thanksgiving, and Alecia Barnes, the new early childhood coordinator, who begins in October.
“We are also looking at restructuring, dividing up the responsibilities differently,” Mr. Weiss said.
Mr. Weiss and Ms. Lowell-Bettencourt sat on the search committee, along with district-wide teaching and counseling staff, that ultimately recommended Mr. Campbell for the position.
Mr. Campbell plans to move to the Island within a couple of months.