Submitted by the Culver City Unified School District
The Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) Family is mourning the recent passing of longtime teacher Carmen Campos, who retired from the District in 2019.
Campos taught in the District for nearly three decades, sharing her love of education with students at Linwood E. Howe Elementary School, El Marino Language School and Culver Park High School.
She earned a doctorate degree as well as an administrative credential and represented all CCUSD teachers on the negotiating team. When she worked at Culver Park, she studied and passed every high school teachers’ exam so that she would be qualified to teach chemistry, biology, physics and calculus. She was also a longtime supporter of the Culver City Education Foundation, CCUSD Community scholarships, and TEENLINE at Cedars-Sinai.
Her colleagues remembered her as a fun and caring teacher who was truly committed to her students’ success.
“She loved purple, Cuban food, Madonna and her friends and family,” said one El Marinio teacher. “She was the emcee for several of the Faculty Talent Shows and started the tradition of Happy Hour with the teachers to raise money for ALLEM. She always said, “It’s for the children!” She had a doctoral degree and was smart as a whip. She served as our union representative for many years, served on the CCFT negotiations team and was extremely generous when it came to buying Tito’s Tacos for the staff. Above all she was an outstanding wife, mother, friend and teacher.”
“She always made anyone that she was around feel special and supported, both her students and her colleagues,” said another teacher. “There wasn’t a time that she passed up helping and contributing to the youth of Culver City. She would pay for students to go to homecoming and prom, even lending her car if they needed transportation. She always had her students as the focus of every decision she made, while also being the voice of the teachers on the union negotiation team for five years. Since her cancer diagnosis over two years ago, we would always text an update of how she was doing, and I would give her an update on CCUSD. She always cared deeply about our district and our community, but the relationships were always most important to her.”
Parents who dealt with Campos felt the same way.
“She was an incredible teacher, a marvelous friend and a pure soul,” said one parent. “She was also a big part of my son’s life.”
“I knew her well from El Marino,” another said. “I was her room parent when my older daughter had her in fourth grade, and I spent a lot of time in her room helping out. She made me feel welcome and useful as a parent and also encouraged me to start subbing. I subbed for her a lot over the years, especially for Field Trips when she wasn’t well enough to go on them. It was a privilege to be entrusted with her students. I have been inspired by her love for teaching. I was messaging with her recently and told her that I think of her daily when I have my students clean up to the “Car Wash” song she used for her weekly “Car Wash Wednesday.” I smiled through some tears today when I played it for my class.”
When she retired in 2019, Campos sent a message to her friends and colleagues that read, in part, “Teaching for CCUSD has been my life for a long, long time. Living at El Marino, because that is what we all do as educators, it IS our life, has brought more joy to
me than only two other things, Katie and Tico. Yes, guys, you made my top three and you didn’t even know it. Thank you for being the amazing team that you are. Thank you for always striving to make children’s lives better. Thank you for redeeming my faith in humanity on the daily. Teachers don’t ever get the credit they deserve and you all still do it exactly like Rizzo bites the weenie, with relish!”
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and family of Carmen. May she rest in peace.