Bernard C. Campbell Middle School honors a founding father of the R7 School District. Dr. Campbell began with the Lee’s Summit City School District in 1941, teaching social studies to high school students who soon would be caught up in World War II and its monumental social and geopolitical changes.
The district was small then, encompassing only those students who were within the city’s boundary. Dr. Campbell also drove a school bus in those early years. For two years, he served as high school principal and acting superintendent, and in July 1943, he became the superintendent of the district.
By 1949, postwar America was changing, growing and expanding. It was no different in Lee’s Summit. The city’s school district, Greenwood School District and 16 rural districts unified into Reorganized School District No. 7.
During the first year, the new district closed Greenwood High School and seven one-room rural school houses. This marked the beginning of a phenomenal four decades of growth.
In the first 30 years, district voters passed all 14 proposed bond issues, which require at least a two thirds majority for approval. In 1949, enrollment in the district was 1,000. When Dr. Campbell retired in 1980, 8,000 students attended Lee’s Summit schools.
After his retirement in 1980, Dr. Campbell remained active in the school district and community. This Middle School, named in honor of him, was financed by a 1989 bond issue that he supported. The same bond issue also funded construction of Underwood Elementary School to the west of Campbell Middle School. Underwood School is named after Dr. William Joseph Underwood, retired R7 assistant superintendent with whom Dr. Campbell worked for 26 years.
In 1989, the District named the Middle School in honor of Dr. Campbell to recognize his enormous contributions to the community, which continued long after his retirement. He remained active in the school district and the community until his death in 2006.
Bernard C. Campbell Middle School opened its doors in August of 1992.