Raised in Chattanooga and a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, she spent her first five years teaching in Hamilton County, Tenn. But for the past 13 years, she has taught at Battlefield Elementary School in Fort Oglethorpe and was voted the school’s 2011 “Teacher of the Year.”
Fowler, who teaches fifth-grade science and math, said she was surprised and honored to receive the award.
“Some of the teachers we’ve had in the past to win this were just extraordinary to me,” Fowler said. “I felt like they were in a completely different league than I was, so to be chosen and put in the same group with them is just such an honor for me.”
Asked about her formula for being a top-notch educator, she attributed her strong organizational skills and her steadfast demeanor to her success.
“I’m often told I’m calm,” Fowler said. Laughing, she quickly added, “But my husband and kids would probably tell you differently. I try to be very consistent and treat everyone equally. I think routine is so important. When the kids come in here, they know exactly, every day, what to expect. Not that we do the same thing every day, but they know what I expect every day. I think they all have a comfort level.”
Along with tendencies to keep things orderly, Fowler said there was a strong sense of mutual respect between her and her students. She also said she was very particular about the standards (state-designated curriculum) and goes over them “with a fine-toothed comb” to ensure the students know them.
“Grades three, five and eight are pass/fail,” Fowler explained. “If they don’t pass reading and math with me, they don’t go on to sixth grade. … My kids know they’ll be ready for middle school when they leave my class.”
Although math and science have been her main focus for the past three years, she has also taught a “special ed inclusion” class for the past two years, meaning some students in the class have learning disabilities. Before that, she taught in the early intervention program for seven years, a program designed for students with special needs. Fowler said the “special education” atmosphere is very rewarding.
“I think I work well with those children.” Fowler said. “They need that consistency and routine and constant re-inforcement. I seem to have the personality that fits well with them. It comes naturally. There’s a lot more one-on-one and a lot less stress in those types of classes, so you get to know the kids better, which is nice.”
Although very confident, she had no trouble admitting to having a slight weakness in the area of technology. Fowler said she has set a personal goal to challenge herself to “integrate technology more efficiently” in the days ahead.
“We all have smart boards now in the classroom and I still have a lot to learn,” Fowler said, referring to the new computer-enhanced whiteboard system. “The kids teach me on it, so I try to get better on that every day.”
Fowler has been married to her husband Scott for 13 years. In her free time, she most enjoys spending quality time with him and their three children, Matthew, 9, Meredith, 7, and Sarah, 3.