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Concord High School principal Gary McAdams talks about Montreal Blakely, 17, a senior at the school, on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 at in Concord, Calif. Blakely was shot on Osceola Lane in San Francisco on Saturday night, police said. He was taken to a hospital by a friend and pronounced dead there, police said. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)

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

That's counting him as a kindergartner to his most recent role as principal at Concord High School. He moved to Concord High in 2008, and led the way up until June.

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

McAdam initially earned a degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State. 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."

McAdam said he was able to talk about "anything and everything" with his mentors when he attended Antioch High: Principal Don Richardson, physical education 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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McAdam's first teaching job was at then-Antioch Junior High before moving to Antioch High where he later became an administrator. For more than a dozen years, he called Pittsburg High home, along with a couple other campuses, and 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 email 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."

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net.

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