Special tribute to former FWPS Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell | Letters

Personally, I was deeply saddened by her Dr. Campbell’s decision to step down after a long and productive six year tenure as our school superintendent. At the same time, I was overjoyed at the news that the Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, would be taking her place and that she would be mentoring her the remaining two months of her term. I know both of these individuals personally and I can say confidently that Dr. Pfeiffer (like Dr. Campbell) is a very talented individual, a great leader and with Dr. Campbell’s mentorship, she (too) will carry on (successfully) in Dr. Campbell’s footsteps.

I first met Dr. Campbell at one of two public meetings when she applied for the Superintendent’s position. She was required to answer questions from the public (which she had no prior knowledge of) and I was so amazed at the way she responded, I had to go back to the second meeting. After listening to the way she responded to those questions, I was so impressed (more than any other individual I have ever met), I was totally convinced that she was the right choice for the job and the school board confirmed that by selecting her with a unanimous vote. After that meeting, I introduced myself and volunteered to help her in any way I could. She followed through and I served on her technology levy committee which passed on February 2016, her bond committee to build/repair the second phase of new schools which lasted a year/required a 60% vote to pass which passed in November 2017 and finally her Education Programs and Operations Replacement Levy committee which passed in February 2018. Because of the efforts of these committees, all the measures passed on the first attempt.

Her accomplishments over her 6 year tenure were so numerous that I could write a book about them but I want to just highlight some of the most important:

With input from the community and the support of the board, she launched the first strategic plan in 20 years with five bold goals and measures of progress that resulted in system-wide improvements in culture and scholar outcomes;

She was supportive in adding two extra – but very important – positions on the school board which were filled by high school students so she could get their input as well;

Achieved the highest graduation rate ever of 88.2% in 2021;

Passed a technology replacement levy for 2017-2022 and an Educational Programs and Operations Levy, both on the first try;

Passed the largest bond measure ($450 million) in school history (62%) to build a new high school, two middle schools, 4 elementary schools and a new K-8 school on the first try;

Increased (vital) parent engagement with an student-led conference participation rate of 99%;

Began two new recognition programs for staff and non-staff: the Because of You and Heroes Award programs;

Launched an annual STEM Expo for PK – 12 students to infuse excitement into STEM careers which our region is known for; and

The boards she worked with were recognized by the WA State School Directors Association as a Board of Distinction for five consecutive years and in 2020 as the Large School Board of the Year.

To sum it all up and to put it very succinctly, Dr. Campbell did what she said she was going to do when she accepted the position of Superintendent: she gave it her all 24-7 with a tenacious eye on the scholars. Her heart and passion was in it from Day One and it turned out to be the most rewarding experience she has had in 25 years of working in the educational field. She has all of our respect and admiration and we are humbled by her accomplishments. She has left a legacy that will – in all likelihood – never be matched.

Gary Robertson

Federal Way