In January of 1972, Roger Fowles became “Mr. Fowles” at Morgan Elementary School and now 44.58 years and 1,215 students later, “Mr. Fowles” is retiring, having taught all 44 years at Morgan Elementary School, starting with 14 years in fourth grade and finishing his last 30 years in third.
Fowles served under six different principals: Paul Warner, Paul Mecham, Dale Porter, Ralph Pomeroy, Lorraine Whitear and Tim Wolff. “Mr. Warner and I started together as Principal Russell had just left. I took over for Mr. Astle, who had left to go on a mission. I started teaching a half day in the classroom and a half day of PE,” Fowles reminisced.
Although he taught at Morgan Elementary for his entire 44 years, Fowles’ physical classroom moved several times in his career. He began in the “old” elementary building and moved to the “new” and current elementary when it opened in 1977. He taught fourth grade in his first classroom for several years before he and Milan Mecham moved out to the “big portable” north of the school. After the school was renovated and expanded, he returned to the main building and his current classroom several years ago.
Over the years, two of his specialties have been teaching math and science. He recalls using “mystery powders and mystery boxes” to excite the students about different aspects of science. In his years, Fowles has seen a lot of changes in teaching. Many of the changes have to do with technology.
“Chalk boards became white boards and now there are smart boards,” he noted. “We’ve moved from floppy discs to flash drives and the use of the internet. Testing has gone from paper and pencil fill-in-the dot national tests to online SAGE testing for the kids. Technology is bringing in more variety to the classroom.
“The kids have changed some, but there have always been good kids in Morgan. They are responsible and caring and live by the rules and have always learned a lot from outside of the classroom,” Fowles complimented.
Current Principal Tim Wolff shared, “Mr. Fowles is a Morgan Elementary School institution. He has now worked with three generations of some families and is adored by many. Mr. Fowles is an expert when it comes to elementary education and is always willing to share. He has been a treasured resource for our campus for many years.
“Most know of Mr. Fowles as a classroom teacher, but many do not know the countless other things he does for the school and district,” Wolff continued. “He has been the perfect example of the concept that we all do whatever it takes to find success. He is the first-in, last-out employee that many of us count on.”
Roger and his wife, Nancy, both grew up in Mapleton and graduated from Springville High School. Roger graduated from Brigham Young University mid-year in December 1971 and found an opening in Morgan. When the young couple first came to Morgan, they were unable to find an apartment in town so they moved to Henefer and have been there ever since. They have lived in two different houses since the apartment as their family grew, but have enjoyed raising their children in Henefer. The Fowles have five children and 19 grandchildren. Three of his children reside in Utah with one in Idaho and another in Iowa. The past few years Mr. Fowles has enjoyed having his youngest son, Nathan, working at the elementary school with him.
Fowles’ retirement plans including “doing a little gardening and spending more time with and helping with the care of my 90-year old mother. I don’t think much will change; I will just do the things during the day that I used to have to get accomplished at night and on the weekends.”
When asked what advice he would give someone entering the teaching profession, Fowles shared, “Teaching is a great job! Prepare yourself and be ready for plenty of pressures to do well. You will have a lot of expectations from a lot of different areas including parents, testing, SAGE testing, etc.
“I would like to thank the Morgan community for your support and for raising good kids. I’d also like to thank the Morgan Board of Education for allowing me to work for so long in the Morgan schools,” Fowles concluded.
On the wall outside of Mr. Fowles’ classroom, during the last month of school, a list of every student Roger Fowles taught during his 44 years showed that he touched at least 1,215 individual students as a teacher in Morgan. Thank you, Mr. Fowles, for your service in the Morgan County Schools and to the students of our community!