ROWLEY — For many years at the Pine Grove School, the name Kyle Campbell has been synonymous with gym class. But this year, Campbell dons a new hat.
As the school's guidance counselor, replacing Sharon Odle, who retired at the end of the last school year, his job still has him working with each child in the school but in a different way.
"I am very excited about working with the kids in this new position," Campbell said. "We are blessed to have fine staff, caring parents and incredible children here at the Pine Grove School; and in my new role, we will all work together to make the most appropriate and professional decisions, both educationally and behaviorally, for the students involved."
Campbell began teaching more than 20 years ago at St. Augustine's School in Andover and began his career with Triton at Newbury Elementary School in 1993. Two of Campbell's children attend Pine Grove School — Jeffrey, who is in fifth grade, and Emma, who is in kindergarten — one, Ryan, is at Triton Regional Middle School, and his oldest, Michael, is a junior at Triton Regional High School.
After being the sole gym teacher at Pine Grove for six years, Campbell spent last year in a split position, teaching the half-day morning kindergarten class along with afternoon gym classes.
"This was a great experience to get back into the classroom, and I had the best class around, but I am eager to get back to working with the entire student body. In my seven years here, I have gotten to know all the students and have a good rapport with them."
Already, Campbell has formed his lunch buddies group and will work with students in groups and individually throughout the year.
"I love these kids as if they were my own," said Campbell, who lives in Haverhill with his children and wife, Megan, who is a fourth-grade teacher in North Reading.
"I can't think of a better way to make connections with the students than to have the opportunity to help them work through some tough issues or challenges they may be facing. I am honored to be by their side through these times."
"The counselor position is a perfect role for Kyle, as he is so well-known, liked and trusted by all the kids," said Christine Kneeland, Pine Grove principal. "This comfort level should help students have an easier time opening up and sharing their issues with him. We are glad to have Kyle in this position."
Campbell holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and master's degree in early childhood education, both from Salem State College. He has advanced credits in various higher education courses, such as school counseling, behavioral sciences and student body management, with a focus on health and wellness curriculum as it relates to social and emotional well-being.