SC Top 20 Under 40
Shiree Turner Fowler
2015 Greenville County Schools Teacher of The Year recipient Shiree Turner Fowler believes that teaching is not her career, it is her civic responsibility. She did not become a teacher because she was influenced by a teacher or a family member, or because it was her childhood dream. Shiree became a teacher because she recognized a need in our communities and considered it to be her civic responsibility to fill that need by providing our youth with an education that would change the trajectory of their lives. Once she began working with youth, Shiree developed a strong commitment to teaching in Title I schools, which are schools with at least a 40 percent poverty rate. She believes that to improve their lives, they first needed a quality education.
Shiree Turner Fowler has been a teacher for 12 years. She is currently a kindergarten teacher at Hollis Elementary Academy, where she has been teaching for the past two years. Fowler began her career in Seattle, Washington working in the social services/social work field. She spent a lot of time working with the youth within the schools and within the community. She spent the first years of her teaching career in the Seattle and Tacoma areas of Washington, where she was recognized by Symetra Financial and the Seattle Seahawks as a Hero in the Classroom. Fowler was featured in the 2008 documentary Paramount Duty. In the film she spoke of the impact of reduced education spending on Washington State’s schools, leaving children poised to fall through the cracks and unable to compete on a global scale.
When Shiree moved from Seattle to Greenville, her first position was as an Interventionist at Mauldin Elementary. She was then offered the opportunity to teach at Monarch Elementary as a kindergarten teacher. However, because of her passion of teaching in schools identified as Title I, she asked to be transferred to Hollis Academy, where she currently teaches kindergarten single gender boys. Her goal is to improve Title I education by making it fair and equitable and ensuring that these schools are creating high achieving scholars. She wants our scholars, educators, and community members to understand that: No matter who they are or where they come from, if our scholars can dream it, they can believe it; if they believe it, then they will achieve it.
With the help of another colleague Samantha Boyd, Fowler is piloting Fade to Read and Curl up with a Book. The mission of these programs is to bring books to our Upstate barbershops and beauty salons in order to help our scholars identify themselves as readers, help them create a lifelong love of reading among, and to increase the reading achievement of our scholars of color. This program began on January 18th, 2016.
Fowler’s enthusiasm and the urgency with which she teaches earned her the respect of her colleagues at Hollis Elementary Academy, who voted her the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2014. Then in 2015, she was named Greenville County’s 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year.
Shiree Turner Fowler holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from Seattle University and a master’s degree in elementary education from City University in Seattle. She lives in Greenville County with her husband and two children.