Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Pete Campos leaves the district’s top job with fond memories and a list of accomplishments remembered during a surprise farewell party preceding this week’s school board meeting.
Board vice president Ramon “Swoops” Montao said this was a way to say thanks to Campos for his service during his last board meeting with City Schools. He also recognized Campos’ wife Lori, son Peter, parents and other family members in the audience.
Memorial Middle School’s Mariachi Cardenal Juvenil meandered into the boardroom playing an up-tempo song.
Board members and community representatives gave brief, and at times, emotional recollections of Campos’ impact on their personal and professional lives.
Member Phillip Vigil remembered meeting Campos.
“When I first came on this board, your office was at the main office at a ‘cage’ over there — that was 10 years ago. I want to thank Dr. Campos for all his work. I will surely miss him,” Vigil said.
Montao said he entered the board as a novice and received quite an education from Campos, whom he called a mentor.
“I’ve questioned him many, many times, but he has allowed that in order to help me grow as a board member and the person that I have become,” Montao said. He said, as a senator, Campos taught him how to build relationships with legislators and others.
“I can’t thank you enough for the work that you’ve done for our district and, most importantly, for out students,” Montao said. “Most of all, thank you for taking the time to work with this board of education.”
Philip Leger talked about an earlier power-point presentation that listed many improvements to district school over the years.
“That’s just a fraction, a fraction of what this man has done,” he said.
Leger said that during the 14 years he’s worked with Campos, the district has built some of the best facilities in the state, including a football field, recording and television studio and amphitheater.
Leger also said during his seven years working at the state legislature he’s seen the kind of respect Campos enjoys.
“He is probably one of the most respected lawmakers in the state. on both sides of the aisle. It’s just amazing what this man has done,” Leger said.
Board President Patrick Romero got a chuckle as he told the audience that at one time he was going to vote to not renew the superintendent’s contract.
“I thought, I’m not going to do that because then I’ll have the entire board against me. Pete and I may have disagreed on some things, but it seems we agreed on a lot of things. One of the things we do agree on is that we need to do what’s best for the students and that’s it, period.”
Member Elaine Luna said some of her remarks might be embarrassing as she thumbed through his Santa Rosa High School yearbook.
“Even back then he reached for the skies,” Luna said as she pointed to a picture of Campos as the Santa Rosa Junior Carnival King,” she said. “He then expanded his horizons to be a man who had a family and came to work at City School’s the day his son Peter was born.”
Luna said it takes a family that stands by a leader so that he can feel the freedom to do what he has done for our district. “We thank you for that,” she said.
Other speakers included Las Vegas Police deputy chief Christian Montao and NEA representative Pat Chavez.
“In the 20 years that I’ve worked for NEA, Dr. Campos is the only superintendent that I could call and say we’ve got a problem. The way he dealt with those problems were just amazing to me, because he always said, this is not a problem, it’s an opportunity to learn about problems and fix them.”