Andrea Campfield was nominated by her colleague, Claudia Smith.
She writes. She builds. She acts. But, most importantly, she teaches and changes lives. Mrs. Campfield is in her 26th year of public school teaching and has taught in Montana, South Carolina, and currently teaches drama at Charles Page High School (CPHS) in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
"I believe each student brings a unique component to the community of the classroom," said Campfield. "It's my job as a teacher to foster a welcoming and safe environment for unlocking students' talents and potential as they prepare to step into the next chapter. Public teaching, to me, is the ultimate privilege and great responsibility of not only bringing up the next generations with a sound understanding of academic concepts, but with the tools necessary to help them succeed beyond the classroom. The arts in public schools are some of the most important tools we have to inspire the next generation to live a life filled with empathy and positive action. My classroom is all about connection through the arts, such as the journey of language and literature, the power of speech, the study of the creative process through humanities, and the magical world of theater.”
At CPHS, the drama program is production-based and tiered to teach students all aspects of stage production. Whether starting in middle school or beginning in the basics of the introduction speech and drama class, students who wish to pursue stage works have the opportunity to learn the many facets and technical elements needed to bring a show to life. Most recently, that element was a 10-foot dragon put together with chicken wire, hula hoops, cardboard, and robotics, all the while moving across stage with blinking eyes and animation.
Under Mrs. Campfield’s direction, these students stage a full season of productions and participate in several competitions throughout the school year. Earlier this year, her students opened with their one-act production of Our Place, which they took to the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association competition and placed second in regionals and fifth in the state competition. One of her students was recognized as one of ten All-State Actors. Other productions included Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which led their set designer to qualify for the International Thespian Competition, and All School Musical, a culmination of over 60 students, including a cast of not only drama students, but members of the Student Council, Youth and Government, and the Special Education Program. In addition, a team of parents joined in to help create and design costumes, apply makeup, and aid in stage construction.
In the middle of their busy schedules, her students participated in the English Speaking Union's Annual Shakefest Competition. This opportunity brought additional success to one student, who won the Oklahoma Regional and traveled in April to compete at the national level at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Through Mrs. Campfield’s dedication, all of her students are exposed to learning opportunities and are able to apply and compete for college admissions and scholarships. Don’t be fooled. These few examples encompass only a fraction of what is accomplished within a one-year span. She does this year after year after year.
“If it’s true that imitation is the highest form of flattery, then I must, by default, deeply admire Andrea Campfield," said a former student. "My imitation of her comes in the fact that I teach. This means I have had the unique privilege of seeing Mrs. Campfield’s excellence in teaching from the perspective of both a student and a fellow teacher. Even sitting in her classroom ten years ago, I knew I was in the presence of greatness, but I wasn’t fully aware of just how much skill, passion, dedication, and work it required until I entered the profession myself. Mrs. Campfield is spunky, opinionated, and passionate. She will fight for what she believes is right, and she pushed her students to political activism in a way I have never seen before. She made us believe that we really could make a difference in our world, and that because we had this ability, we also had the civic obligation to do so. Mrs. Campfield helped me find my voice, which is one of the most important gifts a teacher could give to a student. In my own classroom, I hope I'm able to help my students find theirs in the same way. Fearless and bold, Mrs. Campfield is no average educator. She is a force to be reckoned with, and I am honored to have her as a former teacher, a mentor, and a friend.”
“In 2012, our school began to see the absolute best of Andrea Campfield’s impact on students as she took over our Drama Department,” said Kendra Roulet, a colleague. "The program has grown from a few classes in 2009 to a full program serving over 90 students per year. She spent three years helping another teacher, but in 2012, she was given the reigns to the entire production process. During the seven years since she took over, we have seen the most amazing productions put on by amateur actors that come across as seasoned veterans."
Mrs. Campfield has enthralled her school and community with productions that include 9 to 5, The Addams Family, and Romeo and Juliet, just to name a few. She spends hours upon hours with stagecraft classes building the sets and with drama students practicing their lines and preparing them for the stage. She truly embraces each challenge presented to her and allows the written word to come to life for her students and for all who watch the productions.
"Andrea also serves as an EF Educational Tour Leader. I have been fortunate to travel to the East Coast with her on trips where we took students to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C," said Roulet. "Watching her interact with students and parents in a more laid back manner than needed at school truly showed the love that Andrea has for the historical sights we saw and for the students. She made sure they were learning and enjoying themselves, but also held them accountable for proper behavior. The fact that many parents send their students on trips with her without a parent present, shows the trust that Andrea has in our community. She is truly ‘the person you want to be.’”
As we know, the show must go on, and Mrs. Campfield keeps a tight schedule to support the arts throughout Oklahoma and the United States. Her professional association memberships include the Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and National Education Associations, the Oklahoma Thespian Board, the Educational Theater Association, and the American Association of Community Theater.
Mrs. Campfield's leadership in district staff development is exemplified in her former roles as a program coordinator for Sandite Scholars (an elective course dedicated to college preparation, living skills, and testing), a member of the School Accreditation Team, and a member and leader of the English Curriculum Team. Her most recent awards and recognition of teaching include, but are not limited to, the 2014-2015 Sand Springs Education Association (SSEA) Outstanding Educator, 2015 and 2018 Sand Springs School District Pacesetter, 2017-2018 SSEA Member of the Year, 2015 and 2018 State One-Act Competition Placement, 2016 and 2018 Sandite Spirit Award, 2018 American Association of Community Theatre National Distinguished Merit, 2019 Charles Page High School Teacher of the Year, 2019 Sand Springs Public Schools District Teacher of the Year, and 2019 Masonic Lodge Educator of the Year.
Mrs. Campfield's community and school involvement include membership in the Sand Springs Alumni Association. She is the founder, artistic director, writer and member of the Sand Springs Community Theater, and a sponsor of Thespian Troupe 8250. This troupe has supported veterans since 2009 through various projects. This fall, they sponsored a fundraiser to support the local American Legion Auxiliary by collecting over $500 and filling stockings for residents of the Bryse House for homeless veterans in transition. She also works with Thespians (an International Theatre Arts Honor Society) collecting food each fall and spring for Sand Springs Community Services and assists Sand Springs’ elementary students in various Children’s Theater Workshops.
At a 2019 Rotary Club of Sand Springs presentation, Mrs. Campfield articulated that she believes a well-rounded education cannot be achieved without an emphasis on the arts.
"I chose to teach Theater Arts as a means to nurture an understanding of the human experience and the vital role we as humans play in our world," said Campfield. "Understanding these ‘roles’ is the very core of teaching theater. The CPHS stage provides the platform for students to experience another life and another world fostering empathy, understanding, and acceptance of the many differences that make up humanity. Students in my class not only nurture their talents, but they also nurture the person they will become.”