Paul D. BowerPaul D. Bower
Oakwood Elementary School
Peoria Unified School District No. 11
Peoria, Arizona

“A wise man once said, ‘Run to win,’” says Paul Bower. “Excellence is important to Oakwood Elementary and me.” Bower considers the greatest accomplishment of his principalship since 2000 to be the student-centered culture of excellence he has built. With its focus on achievement, the suburban K-8 school of 756 students regularly exceeds average scores on district, county, and statewide academic assessments. Oakwood has distinguished itself as an “Excelling School” with an “A+” designation in its state. The school also leads its district in Science Olympiad rankings, food can drives, and champion athletic teams. Continuous learning for all—and in all areas—is important to Bower. Therefore, he ensures that Oakwood staff members sustain their participation in wide-ranging professional development activities. Stressing the importance of mentoring, Bower takes pride in seeing five former Oakwood staff members now pursuing school leadership positions. His school also can boast of successfully mentoring at-risk students, some of whom had to leave other schools. Demonstrating strong community support, Oakwood counts more than 200 active, trained volunteers on campus. Oakwood’s partnership with a local high school has enabled a Future Teachers of America program through which teenage students help in elementary classrooms. Bower received a B.S. at Messiah College in Pennsylvania and an M.S. at Northern Arizona University.