Kind, Grateful Bartlett Retires

Isabel Owens, Staff Writer

After teaching and administrating at Campolindo for 15 years of her career in education, associate principal Sharon Bartlett will retire this spring.

Bartlett informed Principal John Walker that she was considering retirement earlier this year, and formalized the decision recently. “It was sort of bittersweet news; I know she’s very excited to move on to the next chapter in her life, but she’s a key part of the adminstrative team here,” said Walker.

According to Bartlett, the AUHSD announced at a governing board meeting on May 21 that Acalanes library media specialist Karen Findlay and Mt. Diablo district associate principal and teacher leader Jon Campopiano have been hired as associate principals in the Acalanes district. “They were introduced, but they said they hadn’t quite finalized who was going to be where,” said Bartlett.

Each applicant went through a district-wide process in hopes of becoming an associate principal. “If you are applying to be an associate principal in the district, the process involves district personnel and personnel from all 4 of the comprehensive high schools, and so there’s an extensive interview and application process,” said Walker.

District Superintendant John Nickerson released an email to all district staff on May 23, revealing that Findlay and Campopiano will fill the positions left by Bartlett’s retirement and associate principal Scott Biezad’s move to Miramonte next year. “I know that we as a staff will make each of them very, very welcome, and we’ll all pull together as a team, because that’s what Campo’s about,” said Principal’s Secretary Carolyn Daughton.

Walker believes that initially, Bartlett’s absence will be a difficult adjustment. “Since Sharon has been at Campo and the district for so long, she has a lot of institutional knowledge about staff members, about the facilities, about the calender, and what the community needs from Campo, so when we have questions, especially about how things have been done in the past at Campo, we often go to Ms. Bartlett,” Walker explained.

However, he is excited to welcome two new staff members. “I’m very excited about our two new associate principals, they’re going to be great additions, and there’ll be some time where they’ll be able to talk with the current associate principals,” he said.

Bartlett will share ideas and pass on information to the new associate principals. “I think there will be somebody new to Campo sitting in this seat next year, and I think they’ll bring wonderful ideas and Campo will just keep getting better and better,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett pursued a career in high school education because of her passion for working with teens. “I just really like the age, I like the conversation, I like what we work on together,” she explained. “I guess we’re lucky that there are differences, because otherwise everybody would try to be at the elementary or the middle school.”

She was initially drawn to Campolindo because of its’ locality. “They [Campo and Miramonte] were the most local, and I thought they were both really wonderful schools, and there was an opening here, they needed somebody to teach World History and at that point, California History,” Bartlett said of her beginnings in the education field.

After teaching various history and social sciences classes at Campolindo for 12 years, Bartlett was unsure if she wished to stay in the classroom or pursue another area of education. She applied for the position of associate principal at Miramonte, and was offered the job in the summer of 2005. “My kids went to Miramonte, so I had been teaching here, but I knew both schools pretty well, and I thought it’s a really nice school and maybe that would be an interesting thing to try,” she said.

While transitioning from the job of teacher to associate principal, Bartlett began to miss certain aspects of the classroom. “I miss not seeing the same kids everyday, that’s the part of the classroom I miss the most, because there’s something about the kind of relationship you can develop when you’re together 50 minutes a day, 5 days a week,” she explained.

However, she has been able to develop different relationships with students and teachers that she could not have done as a classroom teacher.

Bartlett is most grateful for the opportunity she was given to work with students. “You guys are great, you are just wonderful. I’d like to say you always make me smile, but the vast majority of occasions students make me smile. Sometimes growl a little, but invariably smile,” she said.

She has also enjoyed forming relationships with other staff members. “One of Ms. Bartlett’s major contributions to Campo has been her working with teachers on helping them improve their practice. I’ve asked her to work with any teacher new to Campo and help them get adjusted, learn about the school, learn about the students,” explained Walker.

Bartlett has been colleagues with several teachers since her first year in the district. “We were collaborating, especially on World History, before it became an educational “buzz” word. We really set the ground work for coordinating the various sections of World History classes on campus,” said history teacher Bevan Vinton of her first years working with Bartlett.

Vinton recalls co-developing project-based assessments for World History with Bartlett. “For one end-of-term final, student panels had to make presentations and answer ‘essential questions’ of history, based on content knowledge. We invited parents and other community members to the presentations,” Vinton said.

Other Campo administrators have worked with Bartlett since her days at Miramonte. “I was office assistant there at Miramonte, and she was an associate principal, that’s when I first met her, and I was always highly impressed with her organization skills and her willingness to help everybody,” said Daughton.

Daughton moved to Campolindo a year after Bartlett returned, and has worked with her for 7 years all together. “She’s just one of the most generous and thoughtful people I know, and she’s an incredibly hard, dedicated worker,” Daughton said. “No matter how busy she is, she will stop everything that she’s doing and she will help you. I’m going to be missing her a lot.”

Daughton will miss Bartlett’s positive spirit in the office, and the kindness with which she never fails to treat others. “Everything I do with Sharon is better. She even makes mandated costs fun,” said Daughton.

Vinton agrees that Bartlett’s efforts as associate principal have been much appreciated, and will be missed. “Ms. Bartlett, as an administrator, had been an outstanding asset to Campo. The staff has really appreciated her hard work and fair minded-ness. We could count on her to follow through on whatever she needed to do,” Vinton explained.

After coming to know the campus as a second home, and the students and staff essentially as family, it was difficult for Bartlett to retire. “It’s time for a new person and new ideas, and I’m going to be a grandma in August, twin boys, and I think she might need a little help with 2 boys; it’s time to do some other things,” she said.

Bartlett hopes to return to Campolindo as a substitute, and says that she will continue to work in the community in support of healthy choices. “I’ll still come to sporting events, I’ll still do other things, I only live 3.6 miles from here so I’m close to both Miramonte and Campo, and they’re both in my heart, so I’ll be around,” she promised.

The administration and staff plan to celebrate Bartlett’s years of service with a farewell party. “We are going to have a farewell celebration towards the end of the year, and it will be bittersweet because we’re all excited that she’s able to move on to retirement and do exciting new things, but we’ll miss her,” said Walker.

Bartlett hopes to leave a lasting, positive impression on those around her. “I would hope that my greatest accomplishment has been to support people, whether it’s La Puma because you need an interview, or a student who’s struggling with issues, parents, teachers, I would feel best if somebody said that I accomplished that, because that would be what I would hope to leave,” said Bartlett.