Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers has announced that Benjamin Fowler has been selected to serve as the vice-principal of Jefferson Middle School.
Fowler earned his Bachelor of Arts from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in 2005 with a major in English literature and technical writing and a minor in Appalachian studies. He earned his Master of Education in curriculum and instruction (2006), his educational specialist (2020), and is in the final year of his educational doctorate in instructional leadership (expected 2023) at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), according to a news release.
Fowler began his teaching career as an intern at Oak Ridge High School in 2006 and secured his first teaching job at Anderson County High School in 2007, as an English teacher in the first year of their Freshman Academy. He became department chair in 2009.
In 2012, Fowler came to ORHS to teach freshman and junior English and Combined Studies. During his seven years in the classroom, Fowler taught summer school and offered building and district professional developments on educational technology programs. In 2016, he became the English Department professional learning community (PLC) coach, a stipend position in addition to his classroom teaching. In 2019, he went to Jefferson Middle School as an instructional technology coach. In 2021 he was named to the newly created position of building-wide PLC coach back at ORHS. In this position, Fowler worked with every collaborative teaching team to further instruction through data analysis, cognitive coaching, and student-driven decision making. He spearheaded professional developments and worked with teachers on academic planning for the transition to block schedule.
During his 15 years at ACHS, JMS, and ORHS, Fowler was extensively involved in the afterschool theater programs. In 2017, Ben won an Outstanding Educator Award from Tennessee Humanities for his work in Masquers, the ORHS theater program. From 2012 to 2020, Fowler was involved backstage helping build and move sets, making emergency repairs to costumes, coaching actors, working digital effects, and shining shoes in shows like “Guys and Dolls,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Annie.” He has also acted on stage alongside students in shows like “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Oliver!” and “The Wizard of Oz.” In 2018 and 2019, he directed “Our Town” and “Little Women” for Masquers. Working alongside a fantastic team of adults who view theater as a human development program, he said he believes in the power of the arts to help students discover their talents and sharpen their skills to reach past their horizons to take and make opportunities.
Ben said he believes that all students can succeed, and the ultimate goal of education is to prepare students to engage in a complex and changing world, according to the release.
“He celebrates student success at all levels and takes the long view that student academic and personal growth plants a seed that will blossom — this year, next year, or into their adulthood,” the release stated.
“From my internship in 2006, I have valued how the Oak Ridge community has valued education i- n spirit, in action, and in finance. I have been blessed to work as a teacher in Oak Ridge Schools. In turn they have supported my growth as an educator and instructional leader. I am honored to be named the vice-principal at Jefferson Middle School. I look forward to supporting this fantastic staff and their outstanding academic success, and I cannot wait to engage our vibrant students and their families in their academic and personal growth at Jefferson Middle school.”