Hudson principal earns A+

Bowen’s student-centric approach earns praise

Courtesy photo Keith Bowen and his wife, Lori, after he receieved the A-plus Administrator Award from the New England League of Middle Schools

HUDSON – No matter the issue that is presented on his desk, Hudson Memorial School Principal Keith Bowen’s question is always, “is it good for the kids?”

His student-centric attitude and growth mindset is part of what earned him the A-plus Administrator Award at the New England League of Middle Schools annual conference in Rhode Island.

“NELMS seeks to honor administrators who value, understand and support effective middle level education,” the organization said of the award. It is given to administrators who promote and advocate for middle level education, build community support and understand how young adolescents learn, among other qualifications.

Jerry Frew, executive director, said that Bowen, who was nominated individually by three different people, was “well deserving” of the award, and that from the glowing letters they received, his support of students and staff really stood out.

As for Bowen himself, he said he experienced “so many emotions” upon receiving the award, chief among them “complete happiness. “

While he has only been principal for four years, with 12 years before that as assistant principal, he has worked tirelessly to change the school culture and help Hudson Memorial to shape its identity as a middle school.

He created academic teams to meet the traditional middle school structure and to help the environment feel smaller. He worked with his staff to redesign the first week of sixth grade to make entering middle school a smoother transition, and put focus on building the social-emotional skills of all 817 students.

Daniel Pooler, math department head and Hudson STEM coordinator was one of the three to nominate Bowen for the award. He said Bowen was “100 percent focused on making sure students and staff are as successful as they can be.”

He instills three core values of respect, responsibility and hard work, and makes decisions based off whether it will help the students, Pooler said.

In his role as a middle school principal, Bowen said he is able to have a more direct, more positive impact on someone’s life.

“People always say middle school (teachers) are crazy,” he said. “But it’s where people growing up come to a crossroads,” and are making decisions that could influence the rest of their lives.

In elementary school those decisions are not as pressing, but by high school many of them have been made, he said.

“Here, I can make the biggest difference.”

Bowen said he hopes that in their years at Hudson Memorial, his students learn that if they work hard, over time they can become anything they want.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.