“Brian planned the process for interventions to meet the new state legislation it was a major undertaking and required not only understanding of the law, but also knowing the philosophy, culture and direction of the various schools in the district. It meant being an outstanding listener and then moving a group to make meaningful decision that 450 teachers can live with, 7,600 students can benefit from, and an involved parent and business community can support and buy into.”

— Dr. Gerry Chartrand
Associate Superintendent, Campbell USD

Rolling Hills Middle School

1996 to 1999 

Assistant Principal
Grades 5-8
1,138 students

Campbell Union SD
315 Third Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008

What I learned from my time at Rolling Hills Middle School:

  • Senior administrators that can develop a strong and specific vision can shape a school district and achieve exceptional outcomes for families. There are times as an administrator that being firm but fair applies to the teachers when it comes to upholding expectations.
  • Special Education work can be very gratifying when you understand what is at stake for students and their families. SpEd is a complex world of learning opportunities.
  • A specific human resources philosophy that starts with induction and supports the initial years of teacher growth is critical to the retention of quality educators.

What we accomplished at Rolling Hills Middle School:

  • I lead the math department staff through curriculum mapping in math to generate vertical integration that achieved a district goal “…of Algebra for all 8th grades by 1998.”
  • Instituted an eighth grade culminating project to improve students’ technology, writing, and public speaking skills while demonstrating standards attainment.
  • Began the RHMS Student Honors Program to recognize outstanding academic and community service achievements of our students.
  • I served as the site representative to the project manager for the construction of a new library building on the RHMS campus.
  • Grant writer and administrator for the 1999 California Department of Education #1510 Grant for Technology Implementation at the middle school level.

Although not my first administrative position the time I spent at Rolling Hills Middle School with the Campbell Union School District were the formative years; years that defined who I was to become as a leader. The principal had mentored a variety of assistant principals and knew where to place me for the success of the students and the staff. However, she also let me define projects that I felt could improve the schools’ standing in the community, restoring some of the luster that had been lost in recent years.

As a seasoned staff Rolling Hills had seen its share of new administrators with great ideas; yet we were able to achieve vertical mapping of our math program to define Algebra for all at the eighth grade level, and set high standards for student behavior on our campus. These were two objectives the superintendent made quite clear to me at the time of my hiring.

As a large campus, Rolling Hills is also where I expanded my work with special populations. We had a variety of programs on campus, from our learning resource rooms to a treatment centered program for emotionally disturbed middle school students and including special day classes for severely disabled students. An ability to work closely with special education staff around diverse student needs is one of the key leadership areas I took to my future positions.

There are four things that Rolling Hills brought out in my leadership skills:

  • At Rolling Hills I continued my development as an effective communicator and manager of a large school (over 1,100 students) while being one of only two administrators. This taught me a great deal about effective collaborative leadership to achieve consistent student discipline processes, meaningful teacher evaluation, while developing an effective student recognition program.
  • Rolling Hills schools had large second language populations that required I expand my cultural competency skills in developing inclusive practices for all families.
  • As an assistant principal at Rolling Hills I learned to stay on a consistent path even when that path seemed destined to cause our staff to reflect on the status quo. Leadership sometimes has to endure conflict to effectively change a school’s culture.
  • At Rolling Hills I was able to improve my curriculum development skills when tasked with leading a vertical integration of curriculum within a large staff of professionals with very specific opinions about the potential of the project.

Rolling Hills was a pivotal experience, as an assistant principal I learned a great deal from principal Nancy Atkinson. We developed effective and sustainable instructional practices, brought the staff together as a staff to define higher expectations for our math program and built an effective student honors program. If not for the district promoting me to principal at Lynhaven Elementary I would likely have stayed at Rolling Hills for many years.