LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Donna Campbell

Position: Special Education Teacher
School: Florence High School
School District: Rankin County School District
City, State: Florence, MS

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Music that Describes Donna

Donna Campbell was nominated by her colleague, Sandra Tabor.

"'Every child can learn,' was a saying my very first principal had on his wall. He would always explain that every child deserved the chance to be the best they could be," said Tabor. "He said that some would become nuclear scientists, but not everyone.  He also believed if you had a child who started the year unable to write their name with capital letters, but who learned to during the course of the year, that child learned and was successful in their own way.  Donna Campbell gives our special students the opportunity to do this every single day."

Mrs. Campbell gives her students a sense of belonging and teaches them things they need to know to survive from day to day. She takes them on shopping trips to Walmart to learn how to buy groceries and brings them back to school where they cook some of the items they buy. Each year, she finds out what her kids like to do and gives them opportunities to participate in these activities during the course of her school day. This year, her students' favorite activities include: vacuuming, fixing hair, woodworking, and working with plants. She teams up with the Vocational Agriculture teacher to help students who want to do woodwork or grow plants.  She has one special student who loves fixing hair, so Mrs. Campbell allows her to give her a makeover. This is priceless to watch, especially the expression on the young girl's face as she works!

Mrs. Campbell does not stop working with these young people during school hours. She takes them on numerous trips to places like the Pumpkin Patch, a Braves baseball game at Trustmark Park, birthday parties, and Top Soccer. Many of these students do not have the opportunity to do things like this due to their disabilities and other family factors, so it is such a special treat for them. She even gives up her personal time on Saturdays to take her students to participate in community service activities.

Mrs. Campbell has the entire school involved with her class. They have an annual trick or treat through the hallways and into classrooms. At Christmas, she has a party where Santa and his Elves come. At the end of the year, there is always the annual end-of-year cookout. She could not do this alone, so she has enlisted some peer mentors from the student body who help her. They love the kids, and the kids love them right back. Some of the peer mentors even come back after they graduate to help at special events.

Ms. Campbell has shown a group of students with significant cognitive and physical disabilities what it's like to be a teenager. She has changed the way her entire school looks at special needs students and has given everyone around her the blessing of being involved in changing lives. She does it every single day, and always with a smile. Campbell's Crew is known by everyone at Florence High School.

"I saw a saying in 'First Grade Fun Times' that is a perfect fit for Donna Campbell: Most people don't realize that special education teachers are really angels disguised as extraordinary human beings," said Tabor. "This saying is what Donna Campbell is all about. She changes lives daily."

Comments (12)

Kelly Taylor Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Campbell does a wonderful job with our students at FHS. This is not just a job for her, she is fulfilling her calling. She is amazing at loving and reaching these kids exactly where they are. She is more than deserving for this award!

Lyndie Johnston Posted over a year ago

So well-deserved to a lady who loves helping others with special needs. So happy for you, Donna.

Cindy Morris Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Campbell is phenomenal! She plans individually for each of her students and works to see those plans fulfilled. Mrs. Campbell and her staff help her students learn valuable life skills. I am amazed at the creative ways she finds to provide her students with hands-on opportunities to learn. Whether her students are counting and rolling money from the coffee shop or inventorying the snack cart, they are coordinating with the other teachers on campus to create new and impactful opportunities to learn.

Lori Toyota Posted over a year ago

Mrs Campbell does a great job making her students feel right at home at every school event. Her kids come to pep rallies, participate in homecoming, and are always out and about at school. Everyone knows these kids and Mrs Campbell makes sure they fit right in.

Dawn Posted over a year ago

Vote for Donna Campbell please

Laura Clark Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Campbell is as amazing as the nomination states! I see in her eyes the love she has for each of her students. She meets each student where they are and grows them...not just academically but also socially and emotionally. Her job is not easy most days, but she still has a smile on her face and love in her heart...and it's all for her students!

Angel Reed Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Donna Campbell is definitely a life-changer! My library is right next door to Mrs. Campbell's room, so I've gotten to know her & her students over the years. I'm constantly amazed at the activities that Mrs. Campbell does with her students, all while teaching them vital life skills. Every Monday morning I see her carrying in bags of groceries, crafts, etc. (all of which she provides for her students). On any given day her students will be cooking, counting/sorting coins, making art projects, and even volunteering to help around campus. She's extremely patient & kind, which isn't always easy. The love that Mrs. Campbell has for her students comes straight from the heart...she's truly a blessing to us all at Florence High School!

Kelley Lingold Posted over a year ago

Donna, you strive daily to help your students be the best version of themselves they can be. They have learned to not accept limitations and to push beyond others' expectations. You go above and beyond to make sure the staff and student body see and understand the potential, worth, and gifts of each of these children. Thank you for constantly and consistently pouring yourself into our kids at Florence High School. You make their world a better place, and as a result, you have made a monumental impact on the world we live in.

Carla Posted over a year ago

You’re an inspiration to so many. You have truly changed the lives of the children that have been in your class. You’re so deserving of this honor.

Andree' Webb Posted over a year ago

In 2018 my family and I transitioned from a military life to a civilian life and we were very worried about our two autistic babies attending a school outside the military lifestyle but once meeting Mrs Campbell a lot of our worries went away, she was so willing to work with out family and valued our opinions and input. Mrs Campbell really has been a blessing to our autistic babies!!!

Shannon Stogner Posted over a year ago

What can I say about Donna Campbell!! She’s is simply amazing!! My daughter Brooke was blessed to be in her class the last 3 years!! Brooke has NF and has under gone serval surgeries Mrs Donna once drove 3 hours to be her during surgery!!!! She gave my daughter the confidence to run for homecoming queen! She served on the court during her junior and senior year!! Brooke was crowned hoco queen this year!! So one of Mrs Donnas students is a homecoming queen!!!! There is no one I trust more with my daughter than Mrs Donna she is simply an angel here on this earth!! Brooke grew with her!! A song that would describe Mrs Donna would be Hidden Hero by the Talleys she is a hidden hero that deserves to be brought into the light and allowed to shine!!!!!

Kassy Hester Posted over a year ago

It is a pleasure getting to work beside you every day. I have learned so much from you in the last year and can't wait to learn more. We have had many, many laughs and enjoy working with our kiddos together. I have watched you mentor and teach students who need extra help. You are so sensitive to extra work it takes before the lightbulb goes off. The excitement you show to them finally getting that objective or goal is amazing. Of all people you are worth the title LifeChanger of the Year. Can't wait to see what the future holds for you. #LCOY #FHSEAGLES