MOUNT VERNON -- Adam Mowery has come full circle. After being born in Mount Vernon, he lived in various towns in Ohio and spent a portion of his life in North Carolina.
Mowery has returned to Mount Vernon with a new role: principal of Twin Oak Elementary School.
“Really what led me into education was I had great educators growing up,” Mowery said. “They really served as role models for me.”
While Mowery has previously worked as a teacher and principal, he comes to Twin Oak from a curriculum coordinator role based out of Middletown, Ohio.
Over the past several years, Mowery’s focus has been on overseeing school curricula and ensuring adherence to state and local standards, first as a 6-12 curriculum coordinator for Graham Local Schools and then for Middletown City Schools.
“The past four years I’ve been a curriculum coordinator, but my love and my passion is at the elementary level,” Mowery said.
Mowery grew up in Delaware, Ohio, and began taking on educator and childcare roles at an early age. Throughout his youth, he worked at daycares and summer schools.
Upon his graduation from Rutherford B. Hayes High School, he attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio to obtain a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
He began his education career in North Carolina, where he worked as a first, third and fourth grade teacher. During his time in North Carolina, Mowery was recognized as regional teacher of the year.
After the birth of his first child, he and his wife decided to move to Ohio to be closer to family. Upon his return to his home state, he received a master's degree in educational administration from Ashland University, as well as his principal licensure.
Having seen the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on school children and their wellbeing as a curriculum coordinator last school year, Mowery said he plans to prioritize student wellness in his new leadership position.
“The pandemic has presented challenges, but it has also presented opportunities too,” Mowery said. “It really has been a constant reminder that we have to ensure the social and emotional wellbeing of our students are placed at the forefront of decision making.”
In one of Mowery’s previous roles, as a principal in the Marion City School District, he and his staff were recognized for their implementation of positive behavior intervention supports, methods used to identify and support desired behaviors in school settings.
Rather than punishing students for not knowing how to behave, students are taught positive and appropriate behavior through PBIS.
“We saw a significant decrease in the number of discipline referrals,” Mowery said.
Mowery and his staff were recognized by Ohio as bronze and silver recipients for PBIS implementation, along with other nearby districts, including Knox County Career Center and Mount Vernon City School District.
Mowery believes an educator's role is to develop students who are life-long learners, he said. Mowery seeks to focus on developing the whole student.
“I also think it's important that we are providing students with leadership opportunities within the building,” Mowery said. “It develops a sense of belonging when students feel that they’re a part of something that’s greater than themselves.”
Mowery is excited about Twin Oak Elementary’s outdoor learning space, a classroom set up in the field behind the gymnasium.
Mowery hopes to use the space to expand science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics programming, creating what he called “real-world experiential learning opportunities.”
Mowery officially assumed the role of principal Aug. 2, and he said he has an open door policy.
“One of the big goals I have this year is to listen a lot,” Mowery said. “Being new to the building, I’m going to be listening to our parents, to our staff, to our students and to the community.
“I don’t believe in setting goals alone. I think they should be shared goals and common goals.”