Bill Fowler | Heroes in the Hallways
You couldn’t pry Bill Fowler away from his students with a crowbar. As Bill walked the halls of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts (THS), student upon student and faculty upon faculty came up, shook hands and delivered hugs. There’s only one word to describe this former principal of Tuacahn High School: beloved.
Bill always wanted to go into education, protesting against his parents’ wishes to become a lawyer. After college, he spent time teaching high school and soon moved into higher education administration after receiving his masters degree. A job opportunity at Dixie College called him from snowy Salt Lake to sunny St. George.
After years of dedicated service in Dixie College’s upper administration, Bill got a call from the Tuacahn High School’s Board asking him to provide his leadership to this young charter school. Bill promised them one year of serving as principal. He gave them ten.
“My life didn’t start until I was the principal of Tuacahn,” Bill laughed. “That’s when the joy and the fun really started happening.”
THS is a charter school founded in 1999 with a vision to provide an alternative education experience to 9-12 graders who are interested in the arts, visual and performing. Tuacahn pioneered charter schools in the state of Utah. It opened its doors with 82 students but is now bursting with around 400. The building is at full capacity.
“For these students, art is their life,” Bill explained. “It’s not something they do after school. It’s their passion. They’re dedicated to it.”
That dedication shows, as many of the students drive from Hurricane, Enterprise and even a few from Cedar City to get the arts instruction they really want.
“When I walk down the halls I see heroes,” Bill said.
While Bill was principal, he put a lot of emphasis on building a family culture at Tuacahn High School. He said bullying or theft almost never occure and the students are extremely supportive of one another.
Bill excitedly shares the story of two friends both trying out for the lead in the school play. One was a senior and the other a junior.
“The senior girl got the part and her friend turns to her and was so excited for her,” Bill said. “She congratulated her and said, ‘Maybe I’ll get the lead next year.’ That’s the kind of spirit and culture you’ll see at Tuacahn.”
Bill entered retirement in July of 2016 but still visits the campus often. One thing is for certain, he’ll be in the memories and hearts of many students as they face their spotlights.