BUSD Announces the Passing of Icon Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

Sad news today from the Burbank Unified School District of the passing of former teacher/mentor Steve Campbell. They released the following:

Steve Campbell

The Superintendent’s Office has been informed of the sad news of the passing of long-time District teacher Steve Campbell. Steve began working for BUSD at Jordan Junior High (now Dolores Huerta Middle School) in 1965. He started out teaching English and Spanish and in 1970 took over the Journalism department. In 1991 he transferred to John Burroughs High School, where he continued teaching until his retirement in 2006. A gifted educator, he touched the lives of countless students during his 41-year career with BUSD. He was preceded in death by his partner of 37 years, Carlton Maddox, whom he married in 2013.

In 2018 a group of his former students (“Campbell Kids”) and colleagues got together and, working with the Board of Education, renamed the John Burroughs High School library in his honor. The Steve Campbell Library is just one way his influence will live on in our community. To read more about Steve Campbell’s impact and accomplishments—and why being a “Campbell Kid” was considered an honor and a privilege—please see the attachment, which was lovingly compiled by his friends and colleagues on the occasion of his retirement.

The March 3, 2022 Board of Education meeting will be adjourned in memory of Steve Campbell.

Some of Steve Campbell’s Accomplishments

Steve Campbell has been called an institution. If he is an institution it is because he has helped build the institutions he worked for.

Steve Campbell taught in Burbank for 41 years at Jordan Junior High [now Dolores Huerta Middle School], the Burbank Adult School, and John Burroughs High School.

He taught Spanish, Journalism, ninth-grade English, and ESL at the Adult School.

He was Jordan’s ASB Advisor for 21 years.

He instituted the Jordan Art Gallery Competition and the Jordan Gallery of ASB Presidents in the Jordan Cafeteria.

During his 41 years of teaching he was named Optimist Teacher of the Year twice, Masonic Teacher of the Year, and nominated repeatedly for District Teacher of the Year.

He has been the recipient of the PTA Honorary Service Award and the District Brava Award.

And he’s been in every edition of “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” since its inception.

When he was Jordan’s journalism advisor, the Star was the highest-rated junior high school newspaper in the nation.

The Lair, Jordan’s literary magazine, was Steve’s creation, as well as the Blue–Gold competitions that continue to this day.

Pepperdine University judged his journalism department, school newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine the best in L.A. County.

Steve Campbell has also been called a legend because he is the most memorable teacher any student has ever been lucky enough to have. Every student he has taught holds the title of “Campbell Kid” as if it were an Oscar. These students came back year after year to tell him about the impact he made on their lives. Former students, who are now grandparents, would insist that their grandchild be placed in Mr. Campbell’s class. Campbell Kids remember the vocabulary he taught them, they know the grammar, and root words, 100 useful aphorisms, and the reading and writing, but most of all they remember Mr. Campbell and how they learned to know themselves and became organized and successful students under his nurturing guidance.

His impact and his contributions will live on through his former students and colleagues. Steve Campbell will be remembered by many students as the best, most caring, most dedicated, dramatic, memorable, and inspirational teacher they ever had.

Editor’s Note: Steve Campbell was probably the largest influence I had for getting into journalism. His attention to detail and expecting more from his students to drive them was his passion. He always treated his students with respect, listened to their opinions, and treated us like adults. That made an impression on me later that I used in my 40 years as a high school baseball coach. I also fondly remember the trips to Perperdine’s new (at the time) Malibu campus to participate in the journalism awards and the car washes in the faculty parking lot to raise money for those trips. Later, as a coach, we would have an occasional game at Pepperdine and my first thought arriving on that campus was our trips there from Jordan. I am convinced that there would not be a myBurbank today without Steve Campbell’s influence over me in the early ’70s. – Craig Sherwood