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Ashley Bowers never struggled with career choices.

“Since I was in first grade, I wanted to be a teacher and a mommy,” she said.

Now, she is both. Bowers is married with one child of her own and she teaches K4 at East End Elementary in Easley. She began teaching first grade in 2005 and took several years off when her child was born. She loves working with the youngest students.

“It’s fun to watch them discover and grow,” she said. “They learn something new every day. It’s a huge responsibility.

“This is the first taste of what the next 13 years of their life will be.”

Bowers teaches two groups of students, each for half the day.

“The first few weeks are always the hardest,” she said. “Separation is a big issue for a lot of them, but we try to make them feel loved.”

Becoming a mother changed her perspective on teaching.

“I’ve always loved the children,” she said. “I think the realization of how important these children are to other people – I can see the responsibility even more now that I’m a mom. I want them to feel as loved here as they do at home. I have a wonderful assistant who feels the exact same way. We want them to feel loved and welcomed.”

Each day with new learners brings discovery and wonder.

“I really feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” Bowers said. “I don’t dread going to work. I really do love going to work and I love my school. Every day is something new and magical to them.”

Nomination excerpt:

“She's made an effort to make sure my children get what they needed both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. She makes sure each child knows they're special in every way.”

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