Name: Pam Cowan
Position: Principal of Centertown Elementary School
Experience: Has worked at Centertown since 1994. Taught fifth grade for five years, became a social studies and science teacher for 5-6 grades when the school departmentalized, and became principal in 2012.
Fun Fact: Her classroom at the old Centertown School was the same one her grandmother taught in.
Q: How’d you know you wanted to teach?
She was originally an accountant when she got married and had children, but she wanted to work closer to home and have more flexible hours. Coming from a family of educators, she was encouraged to teach.
Q: What made you want to become a principal?
Janie Moore retired in 2011 from being principal and Autumn Turner filled in her spot before being promoted to the Central Office. When that happened, Cowan said many teachers from Centertown applied because they didn’t want a big change in leadership. Pam said, “It was hard for me to walk the halls my first year seeing my would-be students in my old classroom.”
Q: What’s one movie you’d watch for eternity?
Mrs. Cowan isn’t much of a movie or TV watcher. “I try to read a little bit,” she said. She reads historical fiction, biographies, and mysteries. Some authors she likes are Anne Perry, Shelby Foote, Rhys Bowen, and David Meacham.
Q: What’s a crazy story from the classroom?
During her first year teaching, a kid got bit by a snake while grabbing a toy. Pam said, “I had to chase the snake to identify it.”
That’s not the only critter story. More recently, a snake was on the playground where Mr. Rex Crabtree was trying to grab it while Mrs. Crabtree was holding a trash can to catch it. This incident was caught on video. Animals are a recurring problem because recently a bat got in the building. Pam said, “I had to grab a fish net to catch it.”
Q: What’s harder? Being a teacher or a principal?
“This year, being a teacher is more difficult,” Pam said. She said teachers have had to learn new skills and now have to teach to three different sets of students with isolated and quarantined, in-person, and VIP students. “You never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Teachers have been making videos, holding Zoom meetings, working into the night, and learning many new things. “They’re stepping out of the norm,” Cowan said.
This year has been hard just to have staff members at school because sometimes the teachers are quarantined. The teachers have been adaptable and deserve credit for the work they’re doing, Cowan added.