Kathleen Bowen expects excellence from her students. To help them achieve it, she expects the same from herself.
“Excellence. Boldness. Dreams. Gifts I want to give my students,” said Bowen. “If I can inspire them to boldly follow their dreams, if I can impart to them the importance of excellence, if I can help them tap their potential and then give them wings to soar, I will have realized my own dream — to be an awesome teacher!”
Former students, parents and colleagues agree that Bowen has realized her dream.
Wrote one former student, now a college student at Princeton University, “By introducing academic opportunities to me, Ms. Bowen allowed me to explore and cultivate my potential. As a young student, this made a very meaningful impact on me because she opened my eyes to a wide arena of opportunities and activities.”
Bowen is known for getting to know her students individually, often attending their extracurricular activities, as one set of parents noted.
“Having come to know her over the years, it doesn’t surprise me to see her taking these extra efforts to understand her students’ whole lives and offer encouragement by just showing up with her gracious manner, beautiful smile, encouraging words and spark in her eye,” said these parents whose two daughters were taught by Bowen. “These small gestures make all of the difference in our children’s lives and for this we will forever be thankful.”
Bowen uses the “five C’s” in her work with students — curriculum, curiosity, creativity, competitions and connections. Students’ innovative learning comes through online math programs to allow for individualized acceleration, reading biographies then dressing up as the person and presenting biopoems about them, researching and presenting individualized subjects through independent studies, creating board games to teach and learn about an historical event, traveling on weekends to a math competition and presenting research at a community Project Fair.
“When she sees a need, she is not afraid to fill it,” wrote Kristin Flor, a fellow gifted facilitator, who told of Bowen’s determination to start a summer camp for high-achieving students in Lawrence. “While Kathy never claimed the leadership role of this endeavor, it was clear from the beginning that she would be the force who kept our group moving forward.”
Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in reading and special competency in gifted education from Eastern Montana College. After retiring from a teaching career in Montana and moving to Kansas, she earned gifted education certification from The University of Kansas and English as a second language certification from Kansas State University.