Cammie Fowler '95 (at left), Principal, Brooksville Elementary School
How many years have you been the principal of your school?
What first sparked your interest in becoming a school leader?
My first principal, Don Buckingham at Sedgwick Elementary school, was my inspiration. He encouraged me to start a Master's degree in Educational Leadership.
What was your education/career path from GSA graduation to your current job?
UMaine Orono for Elementary Education (I did my student teaching with Fred Cole). Then a Master's Degree from UMaine.
In hindsight, can you draw any connection between your own school experience at GSA and the career path you chose? What was formative about your student experience at GSA?
I had leadership opportunities at GSA--class officer, student council, and more. I also had Mrs. Ellie Andy as my Kindergarten teacher in Brooksville and then was lucky enough to have assistant headmaster and math teacher (and Mrs. Andy's husband) Mr. Andy as my advisor. It was clear that leadership opportunities were available, and I was capable of doing them. I also think the access to and the quality of the AP and Honors classes I took as a student at GSA have helped me throughout my years as a student and a school leader.
Looking back to your senior year of high school, what career/aspirations did you have for yourself at that time? What did you do as an Independent Study project?
My Independent Study project was teaching! When I graduated from GSA, I was enrolled at UMaine for the fall with a major in education.
What educational, work, or life experience has best prepared you to take on the role of school principal?
Growing up in a small, family-run business had a huge impact on me. It taught me the work ethic necessary for principals. My dad, grandfather and uncle also had great interpersonal skills, and I learned how to work well with others working beside them. Houses get built by contractors working well together, not by fighting and competing. Probably the most important thing they taught me is to do what you are passionate about (and that I wasn't very passionate about shoveling stone!).
What do you love about being a school principal? What is most rewarding about this job?
Serving kids and families is what I find most rewarding. I love helping the kids that find school challenging. Those kids who don't fit the learning profile to be successful in school but are intelligent and capable and maybe overlooked or sent the message that learning isn't for them. Those are by far my favorite places to jump in and help. I love serving Brooksville, too. I enjoy knowing the community and helping make it stronger for my generation and those coming after me. The school plays an important role in that, and I find a lot of joy in supporting that role.
What is challenging about being a school principal?
Time. There is never enough time to get everything done that could be done.
What is a source of pride in your school community?
I think as a community we are most proud of being a small school that is thriving. Instead of being on a decline, we are finding our niche as a strong rural school. There is a lot of energy around our agricultural arts program and how we are using technology. These are two areas that we can really use to our advantage with our small school population.