Gary McAdam has been on some type of school campus for about the past 57 years.

That's counting him as a kindergartener to his most recent role as principal.

And, to think, education wasn't his first career choice.

McAdam initially earned a degree in criminal justice from Cal State Sacramento. During the hiring process, he took a chance to substitute teach.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it, and decided to change direction and pursue a career in education."

Four decades later, it appears to be the right decision.

But, still, McAdam is ready for his next adventure.

"I think it is time to move on to the next phase of my life," McAdam said. "I've had a rich and enjoyable career.

"I'm fortunate to have served in many school districts and worked with a lot of great people."

As a 7-year-old, McAdam moved with his family to an idyllic Antioch. He attended local schools, graduating from Antioch High in 1970.

Antioch High actually provided McAdam with his fondest school memories, and education mentors.

He said he was able to talk about "anything and everything" with then-principal Don Richardson, physical ed teacher Brooks Golden and football coach Bill Snelson

"They were great role models," he said.

"They listened to their students and gave thoughtful advice. I tried to emulate those qualities in my own career."


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One of his favorite memories on the historic campus was when "our football team beat Pittsburg High for the first time in 22 years. I was the offensive center and middle guard."

McAdam's first teaching job was at the then-Antioch Junior High, which he attended as a teen.

He then taught at AHS and later became an administrator there.

For more than a dozen years, he called Pittsburg High home, along with a couple other campuses.

In 2008, he moved to Concord High, where he led the way up until June.

Additionally, McAdam taught at Los Medanos College from 1984 through this past summer.

With 40 years and an array of campuses under his belt, it's hard to pinpoint a favorite or best memory.

But, for McAdam, it's always been about the students.

"Any time I receive an e-mail or letter from a former student - those are the best memories," he said. "When they write and thank me for the support and tell me that their lives are on the right track."

Now that he's retired, he said he'll most miss the "the daily interaction with students, staff, teachers and community."

Without having to check into a campus come fall, he plans to spend more time with his wife, Pamela, of 38 years and "make more visits to our daughter on the East Coast."

He will also put in more time on tending to the couple's 1920s home in downtown Antioch.

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net

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