Parkview principal Laurie Ocampo is the Readers’ Choice pick for best principal. Photo by Cathy Cook.

Parkview Elementary Principal Laurie Ocampo is El Defensor Chieftain Readers’ Choice pick for best principal.

Ocampo speaks highly of her assistant principal Sam Murad, and the Parkview teaching staff.

“The teachers are amazing, and the kids are hilarious,” said Ocampo. “They make us laugh every single day, and we feel like they’re our kids.”

Ocampo joined Parkview in 2019 after retiring from an administrative position in Arizona. She worked as a principal in Arizona for eight years, then in an administrative position for a district with thousands of students. But near the beginning of her career, Ocampo taught at both Sarracino Middle School and Socorro High School.

Ocampo met her husband as a freshman at Whittier College. They met the first day of the school year and got married the last day of the school year. Then she took 14 years to have their six children.

“Once I had number six, I wanted to go back to school and that almost gave me more time to think about what I really wanted to do.”

Her husband was a teacher, so Ocampo saw the fun at schools, plus she loved her own kids, so she thought education would be the right path.

“When my youngest was going into kindergarten, that was the year I started my first year of teaching.”

She taught in Grants, New Mexico for four years, then the family moved to Socorro. Some of the children she taught early in her career in Socorro are Ocampo’s colleagues at the school district now.

“It’s kind of such a gift to come back and to be able to be around people that I had as students and they’re so successful. I’m so proud of them.”

Ocampo’s six children are all college graduates, and her advice is to encourage children and keep telling them all the things they’re doing right.

“Out of the six, one has a bachelor’s degree, four have master’s degrees and two have PhDs. We really instill the importance of education in our children, and I think parents are the biggest influence. So, if I want to get out any kind of message: don’t talk to your kids about if they’re going to college. Talk about where they’re going to college.”