Jim Campbell, a member of the communications office since 2003, is retiring from the School of Education on February 10. He plans to spend his free time doing more advocacy work in the community, consulting on education policy and continuing to write on education issues.
Jim joined SOE’s predecessor, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, as a communications and government relations specialist after representing the 42nd legislative district for 24 years in the Maryland General Assembly. One of his first initiatives at Johns Hopkins was a series of panel discussions, called Shaping the Future, that explored critical education issues. The series, which drew big audiences in Shriver Hall, attracted influential players in education, such as Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Deborah Meier, a leading education scholar.
He also positioned the School of Education as a critical source of expertise for government officials. He arranged for Dean Andrews to provide briefings to U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, as well as state committee chairmen and policy-making committees of the General Assembly. He also represented the School of Education with external partners, including the Greater Baltimore Committee and Associated Black Charities. More recently, he facilitated meetings between state legislators and David Steiner, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy.
Jim also volunteered his own expertise. In his second year at Johns Hopkins, he was appointed by Governor Robert Ehrlich and Mayor Martin O’Malley to a six-year term on the Baltimore City school board. During his time on the board, the city hired Andres Alonso as chief of Baltimore City schools whose tenure was marked by bold reforms.
Last October, Jim helped organize the Coleman Report at 50 Conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of the Equality of Educational Opportunity Report, popularly known as the Coleman Report. It attracted the nation’s most prominent researchers and policy makers, including John King, U.S. Secretary of Education, who shared their views of the enduring significance of the report that shaped school desegregation policy for many years following its publication.
If there’s a theme that runs through Jim’s career here and in the legislature, it’s his abiding commitment to providing equal educational opportunities for children of working-class and low-income families. It’s why he got into politics and it’s why he joined Johns Hopkins University. But what we’ll miss most day-to-day is Jim’s good nature and pleasant disposition. He’s been a wonderful co-worker and friend to everyone he’s come into contact with over the years.