An Introduction to Mr. Campbell, Hanover’s New Principal
By Paul Hurford
Justin Campbell is going to be replacing Deborah Gillespie as the principal of Hanover High School, as Ms. Gillespie is retiring at the end of the school year so she can spend more time with her husband in West Virginia. When I interviewed Mr. Campbell, I found out many interesting facts. He was born in Rhode Island, attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and has lived in New Hampshire for most of his life. He explained, “My wife and I lived in Grantham for three years when we were first married and are excited to be able to return to the Upper Valley.” What follows is a transcript of our conversation.
Why did you choose Hanover High School?
I have been struck by the incredible opportunities, dedicated staff, and talented students I have met at HHS. It is an honor to become part of such an amazing place. I have also been impressed by the overwhelmingly positive tone of your school.
How did you come to apply for the principal’s job, and where have you worked before?
I taught chemistry for six years, served as an assistant principal for two years, and, most recently, have worked as the Director of Academic Studies at Milford High School. Though my educational roles have varied, my educational interest has remained constant. I entered the field of education because I find working with young people to be inspiring and rewarding. I find joy in helping students grow, learn, and achieve the great things of which they are capable.
What intrigues you about the job at HHS?
I believe the interactions that occur between teachers and students in the classroom are the root of true, deep learning and development. I am fascinated by how the overall structure and culture of a school impacts these classroom interactions. I believe the best principals succeed by remaining focused on each issue that crosses their desks, because each issue impacts classrooms.
What are you looking forward to next year as principal? Also, how do you plan on contributing to the school?
I am looking forward to becoming an active, contributing part of the HHS community. The first step in this process for me is to gain a working knowledge of HHS. I look forward to having the time to sit down with students, staff, parents, administration, and others to begin to become acquainted. I think it is very important for administrators to find ways to interact directly with students. Over the past few years I have taken groups of students abroad to various places, including Greece, Turkey, France, Mexico, and Costa Rica. I have also coordinated [Milford High School’s] outdoor club and taken students hiking and camping. I have even found a few opportunities to spend some time teaching. If/when time allows, I hope to pursue similar activities at Hanover.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My wife and I have a ten-month-old son, Bryer, who seems to share our love of the outdoors. Lately, we have spent a lot of time hiking and watching him as he explores. We also enjoy riding horses and tending our vegetable garden.
Thank you, Mr. Campbell, for taking the time to be interviewed. We hope you will enjoy your time at HHS!