Written by: Jennifer Appel
Based on the stories told by: Paul Dowdy
Leadership is a choice, not a position.
I was born into a family of SERVANT LEADERS. My great-grandfather was a teacher/principal/superintendent...my paternal grandfather was a minister...my maternal grandfather was an auto mechanic...my paternal grandmother owned the Wedding Haus in Leavenworth and was one of the first to perform same sex marriages for couples...my maternal grandmother was a cook in the schools...my father (Paul Dowdy) was an elementary teacher/principal and my mom was a paraprofessional. And of course my brother and I were both in school; thus, our life has pretty much always revolved around serving others and education.
My parents were adamant when we
were growing up that we must eat
dinner together EVERY night to
maximize family time.
This was easy, as it was before cell phones and we lived in a tiny town with no cable TV. We were able to sit at our little 4 person table as a family, just about every night and discuss our day. As children of the 60’s, my parents strongly believed in having open discussions with us about life. So we had lots of fun family conversations about what was happening at our schools. My brother and I were lucky enough to have my father as our own principal through elementary school so the educational learnings happened 24-7. My parents would share these enriching stories over Mac and cheese, flankstank or roast beast. We would sometimes laugh, discuss, or just take in what was happening. My parents instilled in us the love for education and that every story was filled with a message to teach us. After all, everything happens for a reason!
I wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember, and I think the reason can be directly connected back to my parents educational stories. They spoke about their life's passion with such pleasure and admiration for how they were impacting the world. Not surprisingly, my brother and I both grew up to become educators. I am a teacher and my brother is a principal. Additionally, we also decided to marry educators, Hans my husband is a school counselor and my sister-in-law is a middle school science teacher.
Following in his grandfather footsteps, dad ventured into his grandpa's two loves: education and fly-fishing (occasionally interweaving the two in a master class of learning). He graduated from college as a reading specialist and started out teaching 5th grade. In 1977, he became the youngest head principal in the state of Washington at the age of 27.
While working as a principal he also had a second job to support two children and worked as an adjunct professor at Heritage University, Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University. [Fun Fact: Fast forward a bunch of years--my dad and I actually co-taught numerous education courses at Heritage for about 10 years. I really loved being able to share that experience with my dad and we were able to give our students two unique perspectives (elementary principal and middle school teacher)]. After retirement from public education he went on to be the Regional Director for Heritage University and continued to teach future educators! Beyond being an amazing father, he was an AWARD WINNING PRINCIPAL. His recognitions included: Washington State Distinguished Principal of the Year, Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year, Golden Acorn Award (twice), Washington School Counselor Association Award winner, and the Masonic Lodge’s Outstanding Educator Award. But, I just knew him as DAD and he was the principal that everyone in our community loved!
During the summer, we are going to feature an
8 part series
In the series, I'll share some funny, sad, and inspirational stories from my award winning principal father and how
that helped ignite a burning desire in me to create an
AWARD WINNING CULTURE within my
own sphere of influence.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jennifer Appel is a teacher at Enterprise Middle School. She has been teaching for 20 years. Her passion for education comes from growing up in at education driven family (4th generation) and wanting to help and serve others. She is now driven to create an environment where all students are able to learn and become passionate about serving others. Jennifer can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on twitter at @jennifermappel. Follow AWC @awculture on instagram @awardwinningculture. Follow Wildcat Nation on instagram @emsleadership. #WildcatNation #AwardWinningCulture
Paul Dowdy is a retired elementary school teacher and principal. Paul was in education for more than 40 years. Paul created cultures of excellence at every school he taught at or lead. Paul was also an adjunct professor at 3 different universities in the state of Washington and a regional director for Heritage University. Paul has shared his stories all around the state of Washington in the form of presentations. He's passionate about children and that reflected in all of his work as a reading specialist and his study of the brain and how that drives instruction. Paul is not on social media...but can be reached near any body of water that's conducive to shadow casting! #FlyFishing
Award Winning Culture was created by Hans and Jennifer Appel with the sole purpose of creating an educational mindset of Positive INTENTIONALITY and ACTION; with a daily mantra to make our sphere of influence stronger through Character, Excellence, and Community. Part of AWC's mission is to highlight outstanding educators, companies, and resources that support an Award Winning Culture. Both Jennifer and Hans work at Enterprise Middle School aka Wildcat Nation. Wildcat Nation received the 2018 ASCD Whole Child Award in Washington, for its award winning culture and the 2018 Global "Class Act Award" for Kindness.