SMWC grad inspires future teachers

May 30th, 2014 | Betsy Wells

Kathy Campbell

When graduates complete the education program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), they leave ready to educate, inspire and mold the young minds in their community. A perfect example of this is Kathy Campbell, of Eaton, Ohio, who graduated from SMWC in 2002. Campbell left The Woods ready to aspire higher, and her accomplishments since have demonstrated her dedication to her students.

Campbell received the Hoosier Early Childhood Higher Education award at the annual Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) conference this spring in Indianapolis, Ind. This award is given to an educator who has shown the exemplary development of learning experiences, materials or curricula for instructing preservice or inservice teachers of young children.

“It is such an honor to be recognized at the state level for my work with students and children,” said Campbell. “There are days, and I am sure everyone has those, that I feel my work is not making an impact on students; that I am not doing what I can to help teachers learn to support the children they want to serve; or, that I am not meeting my personal goals. But, this has made the difference … I am making an impact!"  

Campbell, an associate professor of early childhood education and the school of education preschool coordinator at Ivy Tech Community College Richmond, is passionate about educating the teachers of tomorrow.

“Working with children is exciting, adventurous, fun, fulfilling, and a lot of hard work! It isn’t easy to manage a group of 12-15 individual little people, so it does take a special person and my students need to know that upfront,” said Campbell. “My classes will be fun, rewarding, full of ‘ah-ha’ moments, and hopefully, full of experiences that they can take back and use immediately that will help them when working with these ‘individual personalities’ on a daily basis.”

Campbell focuses mainly on early childhood classes, investing her time and talent in helping students to make a positive impact on their futures. Additionally, managing the laboratory preschool on campus allows her to stay close to the concepts she teaches every day including child development, literacy development, exceptional children, administration, practicum and the capstone course. The preschool program serves 15 children a day with ages ranging from 2.5 to 5 years of age.

“We are educating young children in a manner that is developmentally appropriate, based on what we are teaching students in our classes, and is a quality model for all students to view during observations or for a student practicum placement opportunity,” said Campbell.

Holly, the therapy dog

In 2006, Campbell introduced a therapy dog to the preschool classroom. Holly, who came from the Domesti-PUPS program in Lincoln, Neb., lives with Campbell and attends class regularly when the schedule permits. Designated as an EDU-PUP, Holly is used for social and emotional support, behavior management and teaching responsibility.

“I decided this was something I wanted to do for the children because of the impact animals have on children … as well as adults,” said Campbell.

In addition to her classroom duties, Holly travels with Kathy to college campuses and community events. They also presented at the 2012 IAEYC annual conference. Holly is mascot for Holly’s Paws, a fundraising initiative to endow an Ivy Tech Richmond scholarship in Early Childhood Education.

Campbell’s dedication to her students reaches beyond her higher education classroom. She truly cares not only for her students, but also for the children that her students will one day teach. Campbell treasures the diversity of her classroom and large age ranges that she sees in future educators.

“Some of my students have been working in the field for many years, so there is another rich supply of experience that can be shared. I think this truly helps every student to see the practical side of the field,” said Campbell. “You are never too old to make a change in your life, but make an informed choice because the children you will be working with will need you to be there 100 percent.”

Campbell, Woods Online (previously WED, the women’s external degree program) graduate, received her bachelor’s degree from SMWC in early childhood education. She went on to obtain her master’s degree in education and allied professionals from the University of Dayton.

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