The new sixth grade assistant teacher at Los Encinos School has lived more than half his life outside of the United States. Born in Culiacán, a city in northwestern Mexico and the capital of the state of Sinaloa, Juan Campos moved to the U.S. with his parents and two younger siblings when he was 12-years-old and has been in Los Angeles for the past 10 years. After attending Curtis Middle School and high school at Santee Educational Complex, he studied studio art at CSUN with an emphasis on animation.
Juan credits his upbringing in south central Los Angeles as having a big effect on leading him to teaching. He feels fortunate to have parents he describes as “caring and responsible” when many of his peers did not. “I saw a huge gap in education that my community faced,” he says, “and I saw several classmates fall behind due to ignorance or apathy.” Juan says that helping his classmates catch up on their studies or finish their homework made him realize teaching was something he enjoyed. After his formal schooling, he held some interesting jobs before finding a path that would lead him to teaching.
First, Juan helped out at a tax agency before going to work with his cousin in an auto body shop. After that, he joined a tree trimming company which he did not like at all due to the back-breaking work tossing heavy branches into giant wood chippers. Finally, he landed a job as a teacher’s assistant at Beckford Elementary and worked as an aide in their science lab. After that, he was at Lainer School (formerly Sinai Akiba) where he continued his work as a science TA, mainly with 4th graders.
Juan says he really liked working with kids and always knew he wanted to be a teacher. Before the school year began, he worked at Camp Los Encinos as a counselor. He particularly liked leading the science classes as well as the Forensics and Mysteries class.
In his free time, Juan likes drawing, painting, digital art and design. He even worked for a time at Young Art, which he describes as “Color Me Mine based in shopping malls.” He was the lead art instructor and co-manager of the Santa Anita location. In addition to his love of art, he really likes to play video games. His favorite games include Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros., Pokemon, and the Metroid series. His favorite books include the Harry Potter series, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and several novels by James Patterson. Musically, he’s all over the map. Juan likes rock, punk, and even a bit of country such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. He admits that sometimes he sings out loud with the radio when he’s alone in the car!
Juan looks forward to working at Los Encinos School and says, “If I can make a positive impact on a kid’s future, I’ll be happy.” He hopes to one day get a call from a former student who recalls something he said as being especially meaningful because he remembers outsanding teachers who made a difference in his life.
Life for you has been less than kind, So take a number, stand in line.
We’ve all been sorry, we’ve all been hurt, but how we survive, is what makes us who we are.”
-Rise Against “Survive”