Shiree Turner Fowler, a kindergarten teacher at Hollis Elementary Academy, has been named the Greenville County Teacher of the Year. Fowler holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from Seattle University and a master’s degree in elementary education from City University in Seattle.
Fowler has been a teacher for 12 years, and has taught at Hollis for the past two years.
Fowler wanted to become a social worker so she could create empowering community-based programs for at-risk youth. Once she began working with youth, she realized that although the children needed the programs, they were in need of something much greater. “To improve their lives, they first needed a quality education,” she said. “I became committed to teaching in Title I Schools, which are schools with at least 40 percent poverty rate, because of my commitment to the young people I worked with.”
To reach her five-year-old students in a school with a 98 percent poverty rate, Shiree Turner Fowler teaches in a fast-paced energetic manner. “When I increase the urgency of my teaching, scholars increase the urgency of their learning; when scholars increase the urgency of their learning, they increase the investment in their own learning and that investment yields a profit of academic success,” she explained.
Her style is laced with extremely high expectations. “When scholars walk in line, they are learning to walk like they are in the halls of the White House. They do not enter a classroom, they enter a Kinderversity,” she said. My rigorous curriculum demonstrates that I trust and believe that after overcoming obstacles, all of my scholars will walk down the isle to receive their college diplomas and they will help change the world in their own special way.”
Shiree Turner Fowler believes, “I have contributed to their success through being unwilling to accept failure, challenging them to achieve, holding high expectations and holding them accountable to meeting those expectations, empowering them through academic success, and believing in them.”