Cristal Campos knows every facet of Nooksack Valley Schools. The 12-year veteran of serving in the district also spent her entire K-12 education at Nooksack Valley Schools. Campos is eager to continue her work in the district as the new Nooksack Valley High School assistant principal.
“I’m excited to come be a part of the team at the high school and really work on relationship-building with students and teachers in a way that will empower teachers and support them as educators,” she says. “I will be really intentional with students, so they know they are seen and cared for as individuals and learners.”
Campos, who is fluent in Spanish, currently serves as an English Language Learner specialist and administrative intern at Nooksack Valley Middle School. She started working for the district 12 years ago as a paraeducator and soon moved into her ELL role. Eleven of her 12 years has been at NVMS with one year at Everson Elementary. As an ELL specialist she works with students to help them gain language development, partners with teachers to support them with curriculum development and classroom helps and serves as both an interpreter and advocate for parents.
As Campos’ role at NVMS grew, she started spending more time alongside principal Joel VanderYacht and assistant principal and district athletic director Tom Harmon, becoming more interested in the administrative side of school while leading the school’s professional development efforts. She will finish her administrative credentials in June.
“Cristal has been a leader at the middle school for a number of years, she has helped with professional development and makes wonderful connections with students,” says VanderYacht. “She is truly loved and respected at the middle school and will be missed, yet we are so happy that she will be remaining in the district and her gifts and talents will help all our students as they transition to high school.”
As current NVHS principal Matt Galley moves to district superintendent and current NVHS assistant principal Collin Buckley moves to principal, Campos says she’s ready to serve as a role model for the high school students, many she knew for years at the middle school.
Campos shared how NV teacher Vicky Walkinshaw, who she never actually had as a teacher, still served as a “huge role model” for her simply because there weren’t many teachers of color when she was at the school. “Being a first-generation college student, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Campos says. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here today.” Campos says she thinks it is essential for students to see her in her position and how she came from the same background as them and is so invested in learning.
“I want to be able to make a shift in the view of education as something you have to get through to something you can thrive at and use to change the community in positive ways,” she says. “I think it is important for students to be inspired by role models they can relate to.”
During the transition, Campos says she’s focused on getting to know all the staff and learning the systems, all while reconnecting with students through a different lens, even if it saddens her to leave the middle school. She worked with Buckley when he was a teacher at the middle school, so is ready to “collaborate with him to work for the community.”