Amy Joan Campbell was born in Amarillo, Texas. She grew up in the Memorial Houston area and attended grade school in Spring Branch ISD. As one of six children, with two older siblings and three step-siblings, Amy knew from an early age that she enjoyed being around kids. A career in education seemed only natural. But it was the sweet and loving influence of her step-brother Mac, who had Down syndrome, that inspired her to pursue a career in special education.
She received an associate’s degree in elementary education from Blinn College and graduated from Sam Houston State University with a bachelor’s in elementary and special education. She began her teaching career as a substitute special education resource teacher in Spring Branch ISD and in the fall of 1982, was hired as the adaptive behavior teacher at Katy High School.
Throughout her career, Amy invested in ways to make daily school activities more relevant to everyday life for her students. She understood the need for them to be respected members of the community and to engage in activities that enrich their lives throughout their entire lifetime. A lifelong learner and a dedicated educator, her ability to combine innovative ways of teaching with a sense of security and patience were vital to her success with her students.
Amy’s biggest strength was the way she instilled a sense of confidence, self-esteem and perseverance in students. She was extremely concerned with the outcomes for those with disabilities. That concern led her to collaborate with other colleagues to explore avenues for students to do work-related jobs in local businesses.
In 1987, she and a colleague piloted the LIFE Skills program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and at the same time, they began the Occupational Lab, a place where students completed jobs for area businesses. Amy’s persistence in presenting the idea to local civic and service organizations showcased her passion for the success of her students. Her students were soon invited to extend their classroom learning into various workplace environments. Today, this program, now called the Work-Based Learning program, exists in every Katy ISD high school. Many of the students who participated in this program have been successfully employed after graduating. They are making a difference for everyone in the Katy community, which brings great joy to Amy. While at Katy High School, she also helped start a swim program for students with special needs that later became known as the Adaptive Aquatics program.
In 1995, Amy moved to Taylor High School to bring the LIFE Skills and Work-Based Learning programs to that campus. While there, she and a fellow teacher founded the second Texas high school chapter of Best Buddies, a program dedicated to creating one-to-one friendships between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. Many of these friendships continue beyond graduation, even to this day. She remained a sponsor of the program until her retirement in 2015.