Note from The Fund Team: Welcome to week three of our Q&A series! We’re excited to introduce you to Principal Terri Campos of Lozano Elementary. Learn about her path to school leadership and what excites her most about her role. Thanks for sharing, Terri!
The Fund: Tell us how you got into the field of education.
Terri Campos: I originally transitioned into education 13 years ago. When I was getting out of high school and going into college, I looked at my predictors for opportunity; teaching was a saturated market. I chose to major in human resource management so I could still find a way to teach others. The love of teaching was always there. My transition occured when I was raising a family, doing part time work and looking for something extra to do. At that time, there were substitute teaching opportunities in Chicago Public Schools. I paid $40 to get a certificate,I waked into a classroom to sub, and took it very seriously. The joy I felt made me realize this was my home. The feeling of kids looking up to you made me feel like a natural for this job. I believe I was born to be an educator.
The Fund: What drove you to seek a leadership position?
TC: I taught for five years and was very happy, but I wanted to make a greater impact. I decided to pursue administration. I receive a master’s in education and leadership. Prior to that, I had a master’s in business. I joined UIC program for principal preparation. I am here right now as part of Urban Leadership, and I’m still working on my dissertation. This helped me prepare myself to become a better leader. I chose this leadership role because I believe I could make a difference in classrooms. I wanted to bring joy into education and being there for children when they have needs. People were always supporting me as a child, but I didn’t know it. I want to educate parents and inform students when opportunities are out there. I want to help students find a career that they are happy with… I want to be a resource for children so they can pursue their dreams and fulfill them.
The Fund: What about Lozano Elementary School excites you?
TC: Lozano has a culture and climate that we have built to the point where we are ready to move forward and focus on raising our level of academics. This year, we went up a notch in our evaluation, but I think we are going to get that extra notch to hit Level 1 next year. It has to do with setting the tone and expectation that has made the difference and shifting to the value of education. It was a community shift that needed to be made. Parents don’t always know how to go about their children’s education. We want parents to take a stronger leadership role, and we hope to support our parents. I am always striving to make sure the physical and emotional environment is top notch. I am very persistent in making our building feel like it was built yesterday, even though it is 22 years old. I want people to feel comfortable in this setting.