Bill Bowles is an ambassador for all that is good about public education. A gifted educator, Mr. Bowles just concluded over 20 years with the Detroit Public Schools as a media specialist. Most of his tenure was spent at Western International High School, a Detroit Public School on the resurgent southwest side of the city.
Bill is an excitable lifelong learner. A passionate student of the world, Bill has taught and lived in Benin, Nigeria and Nicaragua. I met Bill in 2007 on a 15-day trip for educators to Saudi Arabia. Here Bill speak about his experience here. He is the kind of teacher who constantly thirsts for knowledge of all kinds. He reads voraciously and has engaged in professional learning experiences in more cities around the world than I can remember. He isi one of those teachers who uses his summer break to learn, study, and grow. I only half-joke when I say that when I grow up I want to be like Bill.
Mr. Bowles has served as Western's representative to the Detroit Federation of Teachers. He has a keen sense of social justice and is always working on behalf of students - especially those who are chronically underserved. He has taken students to cultural events throughout metro Detroit, at his own expense, which has enabled his students to see beyond the confines of their neighborhood - often for the first time in their lives.
Bill has hosted two separate exchange students - one from Denmark and one from Mexico - at Western. Both kids developed an understanding of the inherent inequity in public education and our larger American society, as they both attended Royal Oak High School in the suburbs, but came to Western as visitors for the day. The inevitable differences observed by the kids were sometimes stark. Nevertheless, the student from Denmark, Chris, had such a good time with Mr. Bowles that he came back on two separate occasions and even attended field trips to both the Holocaust Memorial Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts with Bill's students from Western. Chris even took a girl from Western to Royal Oak High School's senior prom.
Bill is spending a month in northeast Brazil this summer studying the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on and legacy in the Americas. When he returns to Detroit he will begin a new career at the American International School in Kuwait City, Kuwait where he has signed a two-year contract. I am confident that he will make just as significant an impact in Kuwait as he has in Detroit. I can't wait to hear about his new adventures in the Middle East.
Best of luck and bon voyage, Mr. Bowles!
Bill Bowles in the media center at Western International High School
Bill has long been a champion of the arts in schools, such as a program that brings graffiti artists to Western
Mr. Bowles is one of the friendliest, most amiable educators I have ever known - a true ambassador for the profession
Bill in a session of the Shura Council - Saudi Arabia's parliament