After almost 35 years with Ector County Independent School District, Bowie Middle School Principal Shelia Stevenson is retiring.
Through the years, Stevenson has taught drama, reading, seventh and eighth-grade English, emerging technology, which was a new computer course, and was the coordinator of school-within-a-school at Permian High School for a year.
That was for “over-aged, at-risk ninth through 12th-graders.” She then became the assistant principal and the vice principal at PHS, followed by principal at Bowie Middle School. She is completing her eighth year there.
“I made the announcement to the faculty and staff on March the 22nd that I would be retiring effective June the 28th,” Stevenson said.
Prior to ECISD, Stevenson worked for two years with the University of Texas System at University of Texas Permian Basin and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Brian Ellington, an assistant principal of Abell Junior High School in Midland, will become the new principal at Bowie. Stevenson said she thinks he’ll do well.
After more than three decades in education, Stevenson said, she knew it was time to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
“I will remain in the city, continuing to take care of my 90-year-old mother, looking forward to spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren and I’m going to continue community service with a new nonprofit. It’s called QR Club, which stands for Queens Rock, and a few other undertakings. Then I’m going to relax and travel with my already retired husband,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson and her husband, Clarence, have three grown children and four grandchildren.
QR Club will involve working with “many, many queens in the city between the ages of 11 and 18.”
“We’re going to work on their self-esteem. We’re going to work on projects that are going to help with community service. We’re going to work with projects that will help them as they continue to plan their graduation,” post graduation and plans for the future, Stevenson said.
“I want to work with kids to make sure they know that there is potential for greatness for students, so we’re going to be working with those kids all year and they’ll come from many of the schools within ECISD,” she added.
After 15 years as an administrator, Stevenson said the children are the most rewarding part of her job.
“There is nothing more humbling than to bond with students when they stop me in the hallways to chat, or when I get the handwritten notes from students acknowledging thanks, suggestions and concerns. I enjoyed creating a culture and climate with faculty and seeing our commitment to building strong, meaningful relationships. I enjoyed the many parents that daily entrusted me with the process of teaching their children to become lifelong learners,” she added.
She also enjoyed seeing the success students had and the impact she had on many adults, students and parents.
What she won’t miss are people who disrespect educators and those who don’t put young people first.
“… But I know I’m going to miss the daily interactions with staff, the teachers and administrators because it’s like seeing your friends at work. They are my family, so I’m going to miss that,” Stevenson said.
A native Odessan, Stevenson graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and a minor in Spanish and English. She earned a master’s in educational leadership from UTPB.
When she graduated from UT Arlington, one of her mentors, the late Joseph Rutledge, who was principal of Blackshear when it was a high school, approached Stevenson and said ECISD needed her to teach and he needed her to teach.
Then the late Winfred Richmond, who was principal at Ector High School, and his assistant principal Steve Brown, now an ECISD trustee, gave her the chance to be a reading teacher at Ector Junior High.
She was in a clerical slot for five weeks before a teaching spot opened.
Having a degree, but no certification was kind of tough, she said. So once she got her foot in the door, she got a reading teacher position and earned her reading endorsement from UTPB.
Brown said Stevenson was fantastic teacher and a “phenomenal role model in the community.”
He added that she moved right up, taking on a variety of leadership roles, including her posts at Permian when he was principal. Brown said she did an exceptional job there.
He said he was thrilled to see her get the principal position at Bowie and noted that she “takes care of business” and makes decisions that are in the best interest of students.
“She’ll be missed. … Shelia’s just a great person, a great individual with a beautiful family. She will be missed. I can tell you that,” Brown said.