Spencer Campbell is one of the two assistant principals at Elk Ridge Middle School, a school just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Campbell spends his days checking the breezeways for kids playing hooky, redirecting foot traffic between classes and checking on substitute teachers.
Campbell owned a small business before coming to education. He says he felt drawn to schools, so he got a master’s degree and became a teacher.
After five years in the classroom as a teacher, Campbell says he couldn’t make ends meet. “As a teacher I was making $43,000 a year and I had a part-time job where I would work another 20,” he says. “That wasn’t for the extras. That was just for the basics.”
Because of this, he decided to take the next step and become an administrator.
“There’s not a step in the ladder between teacher and administrator,” Campbell says. “It’s just teacher. And administrator.”
Campbell does like his job, he says he makes nearly double what he made in the classroom. However, the change is hard nonetheless.
“The effect that a classroom teacher has on a student is second only to a parent,” Campbell says. “And as an administrator, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have that same effect and that’s kind of heartbreaking.”