Grissom Principal Brent Rowland
I was born in Kansas and lived in Texas, but have lived in Oklahoma since I was 9, first Norman, then Tulsa when I was 11.
I graduated from Union High School. I was the first generation of my family to graduate college. I thought I’d go to OU, but was offered a full ride at the University of Tulsa, half academic and half music, so that’s where I went! I started out in music, then journalism, then earned my BA in political science to make the best use of all those credit hours. At that point, I was planning on law school. My dad died before I graduated, so I stayed at TU to earn my JD. I also have completed coursework at OU for an Ed.D.
I practiced as a Legal Aid attorney in rural northeast Oklahoma for about three years. I was a visiting instructor at the University of Tulsa Legal Clinic, which I also did during the summers after I entered common-ed. I remember sitting at my clinic desk thinking, “I really want to teach kids to think and to write.” That led me to teach at Tulsa Community College as an adjunct in government and in English composition, and to Broken Arrow Public Schools, where I started teaching gifted students and later English literature and language at Sequoyah Middle School. I came to Tulsa Public Schools teaching English I, AP Language and Composition, Contemporary Lit, and Humanities at Booker T. Washington High School, and then moved into leadership. I was assistant principal at Carver Middle School and Memorial High School and led the curriculum and instruction team, which is where I got immersed in early childhood and elementary teaching and learning. I’ve been at Grissom for seven years. It’s been challenging and rewarding, and transformational. There is no place like it, and there are no people like our team, kids, and families at Grissom.
While at Sequoyah, I was Broken Arrow’s District Teacher of the Year, and a finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. That was very cool, amazing, and humbling. I was a participant in a two-year national conference of principals sponsored by the Wallace Foundation and the national principal associations. I presented at the National Principals’ Conference. I’ve been president of the Tulsa Association of Elementary School Principals; I value the faith placed in me by my colleagues. I’m always proud and pleased when I facilitate learning and people respond positively, whether it’s kids or professionals.
I’m proud of trusting relationships I have with Grissom kids and families. I’m very proud that our school is about the arts, fitness, and social-emotional well-being for everyone every day. I’m most proud of the team we have at Grissom. They are the most student-centered people I know. They bring themselves wholeheartedly to the work, not just teachers but all of the team. We make a point to care about one another. I’m proud that from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019, not one staff member left, certified or non-certified. In 20+ years of education, I’d never seen that happen.