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Improving Special Education in Rural Communities Through Ongoing Leadership Development

June 7, 2024

Alt: Brian Campos

TFA alum Brian Campos (Idaho '20) sees serving children with special needs as his life’s mission.

He is driven both by his special needs son’s educational journey and his own experience growing up in South-central Los Angeles, where high-quality educational opportunities were few and far between.

Brian did his TFA corps service in Marsing, Idaho as a special education teacher. After his two years in Marsing, he joined COSSA, a public school cooperative serving Homedale, Marsing, Notus, Parma and Wilder School Districts, as a special education consulting teacher. 

“It’s a pseudo-admin role; I am our special education director's right-hand man,” Brian said recently. “I oversee training and preparation for our teachers, make sure we're in compliance with IEP (Individualized Education Program) regulations, and help with overall teacher performance.” He also works with teachers on how they manage their classrooms, how they set up schedules, and how they have their students interact with the general education population.

This year, Brian entered a master’s programming building administration at Northwest Nazarene University as part of TFA’s Aspiring School Leaders program. Though he plans to stay in his current position for at least another year, he envisions himself in the future in some kind of administrative role.

Whether that is as a building principal or as a special education administrator remains to be seen. “I feel called to special education but I always want to feel where I can make the most impact,” he said.

As part of the leaders program,  Brian has been assigned a mentor by TFA. He said this has been helpful to him on his journey. “We chat every month, and she helps me build my plan for the future, build some goals and how to attain them. She has helped me lay the groundwork for having the kind of impact I want to have on the teachers I’ve been mentoring. It has been phenomenal.”

Brian has also participated in TFA’s “Schools to Learn From” program. This has given him the opportunity to travel around the country visiting schools that are demonstrating strong positive outcomes for their students. 

“It’s been phenomenal to travel to excellent schools around the country and to bring some of what they're doing back to my campuses,” he said.

As if that isn’t enough, Brian also attended a School Leaders of Color conference in Denver. That also made a big impression.

“It was phenomenal hearing other leaders that I could relate to, and reassuring to learn that the work I'm doing here is reflected across the nation and can have a positive impact on our communities.”

Brian Campo

Idaho Corps Member 2020

Brian said he was particularly struck by the work in literacy being done in Hispanic communities across the country. A significant number of new immigrant parents struggle with literacy, which makes it difficult for them to help their children with school work. He was enthused by some of the strategies he learned about at the conference. 

“It was inspiring to hear about the good work being done. They imparted a lot of knowledge and I am excited about bringing that back home to Idaho and starting to spread that message within the school districts here.”