“Communication and learning from each other” is Bryan Bowles’ motto as he continues his time on the Utah State Charter School Board (USCSB). With over four decades of experience in education, Bowles has a rich history of teaching and leading in the state of Utah.
Bowles always knew he wanted to be a teacher, and his career path shows it. He started teaching in 1974 and taught for 10 years before being called to be the senior vice president of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, Hawaii. After seven years his family started to miss the mountains, and they came back to Utah. Bowles briefly tried consulting, but while contemplating his travel-heavy work schedule, he was reminded of his passion for teaching. “I wanted to make a difference in lives, and I couldn’t do that traveling 20 days of the month,” said Bowles.
Bowles went back to teaching and hasn’t stopped since, progressing steadily in his career. He began writing curriculum, then became a principal, and finally served as the superintendent for Davis School District for 14 years. In 2016, he joined the EdLF faculty at BYU.
In 2018, Governor Herbert appointed Bowles as a member of the USCSB. In March, he was elected to be its vice president. The board’s purpose is twofold: to oversee and authorize the creation of new charter schools and to ensure that current charter schools are following their charters.
The board is diverse, composed of members with expertise in finance, technology, curriculum development, and more. Bowles brings a unique depth of knowledge from his decades in education administration and leadership. “I am the only one who's been a superintendent. I’ve had that system-wide leadership, and that experience is unique.”
Bowles spends a majority of his time on the board with the innovation committee. “Our purpose is driven by the principle that if we're investing in charter schools in the state, we need to identify the models of charter schools that are really, really good and then try to duplicate those models among other schools.” As Bowles works on finding those models, he works to share them with other charter schools and public schools.
Looking to the future of education, Bowles is excited. “I think we’re on a trajectory of excellence.” He complimented every teacher in Utah on their successful endeavors in navigating online instruction due to COVID-19.
After working in the public-school sector for so long, Bowles explained he is gathering new insights helping charter schools. “I am learning a lot. When you are looking from the inside out, you gain a different perspective.” This perspective will shape how Bowles spends the next two years on the USCSB.
Want to read more on EdLF faculty? Get to know Vance Randall, a professor and former EdLF chair who is retiring after more than 45 years working in education.
Writer: Megan Palmer
Contact: Cynthia Glad 801-422-1922