Meet Principal Towe, the Ostrich Farmer

Meet Principal Towe, the Ostrich Farmer

Among all the changes that have come to Shorecrest this year, one of them is pretty hard to miss: our new principal, Dr. Towe. Did you know that he has a doctorate in educational leadership, and therefore may be called Doctor? We here at the Piper did not know this until we asked him how he felt about being called Chad, to which he responded that he preferred Dr. Towe.

You may have seen him fist-bumping people in the halls, striking up conversations in the parking lot, or starring as Towe Maguire (the REAL Spiderman) in the freshman homecoming skit. But who is Dr. Towe, really? I had the opportunity to sit down with him and find out.

At Top Scot, during the staff fun fact game, we learned that you once worked as an ostrich farmer in Israel. Tell me more about that.

I drove a car from France, to Holland, and then from Holland all the way to Egypt to see the pyramids in Cairo. It took me a year to do it, and I had several jobs along the way. One of the jobs was that I worked at a hostel in Greece. I also worked in Barcelona writing jokes for a one hour daily English radio broadcast. And the last job that I had was in Israel on a kibbutz. I worked as an ostrich farmer for about five months. I’ve traveled to over 60 countries around the world, and I’ve lived all over the United States as well.

How did you go from that to being a school administrator?

I worked for two years in Japan as an English teacher, and then I worked for two years in the Bahamas, and then I worked for two years in Sweden, and I worked at international schools. So when I came back to the United States, the only job experience I had was as a teacher, and so I think I realized I was a teacher. I came back to the United States; got a job in Portland, Oregon, as a teacher there; and then earned my doctorate in educational leadership while I was working as a teacher in Portland. After that, I got my first job as an assistant principal down in Eugene.

What experience do you have from your last school that will carry over to Shorecrest?

At my last school, I was helping a school rebound after some very difficult years through the pandemic. And I think that different students are at different places with the trauma that they may have experienced. At my last school, we were very intentional on mental health supports, and making certain that students felt a connection to the school and a sense of belonging as a way to help them to heal after those traumatic years. And so from my last experience, I would like to make certain that we’re doing all we can to meet the students where they’re at, so that we can be certain to continue the progress of healing and growth that I think the school has already begun.

What are your goals and priorities as principal?

I think my first priority is to make certain that students feel a sense of belonging. It’s essential that students really feel like this is their school. And I think the staff here is very caring and committed to making certain that students have that sense of belonging while also making certain that the staff feels very connected.

What are your favorite things about Shorecrest so far?

Well, the pep assembly was incredible. That was a lot of fun, and I can see that there’s a lot of traditions at Shorecrest and a lot of energy around school spirit. I think that’s a huge opportunity, and it’s a wonderful part about Shorecrest.

I think you added a lot of energy to that pep assembly. That whose house/our house bit was a major hit. 

Yeah, I hope that we can continue that. I think if students see this as a home away from their home, I mean, we spend hours here—that it could potentially change students’ behaviors and allow students to see each other as family, treat our building with respect, and generally just create the kind of community that I think we all want at our high school.

What were you like when you were in high school?

I was friends with everyone. I think I was the kind of student that could easily travel between social groups, and find something in common with everyone. I grew up all around the United States, and so coming into high school, I think that I had experience coming into a new place and making certain that I could be friends with everyone.

What do you want students to know about you?

I’m here to help. I believe in public education as the great opportunity creator. I know that students need more than a high school diploma in their lives, but that is the first step. And I think in order for students to be successful, and for students to help build our community, it’s my job to ensure that this building and this staff and our community are doing everything we can to help support students through what I think you and I both know is a challenging time in young people’s lives.

This interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

As the third principal in three years, Dr. Towe certainly has a lot to live up to— but I think I speak for most of Shorecrest when I say I believe he will continue to surpass our expectations. I’m excited to see what Dr. Towe does here at Shorecrest and how he truly makes it (whose house) OUR HOUSE!

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