Heather Bowlds, Math & Reading Interventionist/Gap Coordinator at Hancock County Middle School, has been teaching for 17 years. She is originally from Spencer County, Indiana, and graduated from Heritage Hills High School in 2000. She is the daughter of Tim & Rose Meece.
Heather earned her Associate of Science Degree at Owensboro Community College, and her Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education with emphasis in Mathematics & Language Arts at Western Kentucky University.
She earned her Master’s in Middle Grades Education, with emphasis in Educational Technology from WKU in 2012, and recently completed her Rank I at Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, through the NASA Endeavor Program in STEAM education.
She also completed Reading & Math Interventionist training, and began the Interventionist/Gap Coordinator position in 2021.
“The school and the board office, they are so helpful and so giving,” she said, “as far as providing me with the resources that I need to be successful in this position. They gave me the opportunity to be trained in Orton-Gillingham (O-G), and provided me with 2 levels of training, comprehensive and intermediate.
I’m enjoying doing something different. Seeing how this program can help with, not just students who are learning how to read, but students that struggle in reading and that there are gaps that need to be filled and areas that I’m seeing they need help with.”
The Lexercise Program she was trained in, she said, also supports the O-G Method.
“This is something new. I’m seeing the benefits with that. This next school year, I’ll be focusing more on the reading aspect of it and doing a lot of O-G work with them. I’m really excited for the kids and myself to see what all I’m gonna learn as well.”
While earning her teaching degree, Heather was a student worker at WKU Police Department for 3 years. She moved back home with her parents and worked at Cingular Wireless while finishing her last 2 classes at WKU Owensboro campus, before student teaching.
That’s where she met her husband, Dwight. “We had been working together for a little while, and the moment I walked back to the break room and he was playing music from Casting Crowns (Christian band), that started the whole thing and the rest is history. They are my all-time favorite band. We try to go to a concert as much as we can. We’ve probably seen them 5 times.” They married in April, 2006 and had a small wedding at her home church, Bethel Christian Center in Rio, Indiana.
Dwight is a Supervisor at Commonwealth. They are blessed with 2 children. Kylie will be a sophomore at HCHS and Avery will be in 4th grade at NHES, in fall. They both love to play soccer, and Kylie plays percussion in the Hornet Marching Band.
Before graduating from WKU in 2005, Heather completed her student teaching for one semester at HCMS, her first choice of the 3 counties she listed as her preferences.
She did her student teaching under Mary Jane Newton, HCMS 8th Grade Math Teacher. “I think I learned more from her in that one semester than I probably did in those whole 3 years at Western,” Heather said. “She was a phenomenal teacher. The way she engaged her students and developed her lesson plans, it impacted me so much. I don’t think I’d be the teacher I am today if it wasn’t for her. I fell in love with the area and knew it was where I wanted to stay.”
After student teaching, there wasn’t a job opening, so she stayed on as a teacher’s aid and finished out that school year at HCMS.
The next school year, there still wasn’t a teaching job available, and she was hired at McClean, her husband’s home county, and taught language arts for a year at the middle school. HCMS had a position open the following year and she started in 2000, teaching 6th grade math.
Heather said she’s always loved math. When she was only in 8th grade, her teacher and classmates would ask her to teach how to do a lot of the algebra problems, because they said they liked how she explained things. Her grandfather, George Meece, Jr. also saw that ability in her early on, and she said he was her number one cheerleader.
“He always said to me, ‘You need to be a teacher.’ He knew me. He knew my personality and he just knew that I would be great in the classroom,” she said. “I also owe it to a lot of my high school math teachers. I knew that if I was ever to become a teacher, I would want to follow in their footsteps. The way they engaged the students and developed relationships with them, I wanted to do that.”
She said she feels blessed to have been able to spend a lot of time with her grandmother, the late Doris Jean Meece. She taught Heather how to decorate cakes, and so much more.
“During one of our heart to heart conversations,” she said, “when I was a young teenager, she said something to me when I was struggling on making a decision about something.
Of course, she always encouraged me to pray about everything, but she said, ‘You know, if you’re struggling and you’re out in a body of water and feeling like you’re going to drown, and God has provided you a boat, sometimes you’re going to have to make the swim for it. You’re going to have to go to it.’
That analogy stuck with me.
“You’re going to have to work for what you want, and God is always going to be with you, right there beside you.”
Dwight & Heather moved into the house they built in Lewisport in 2017. They enjoy taking a beach vacation every summer to Cape San Blas, Florida.
She said she gives “props” to her parents for teaching them how to garden, freeze and can. They raise a garden every summer and freeze corn, can green beans, pickle cucumbers, and make homemade salsa with the tomatoes they grow. They are passing the gardening tradition along, and teaching their daughters as well. “They are big helpers in that,” Heather said, “breaking beans and shucking corn right there with us.”
She and her family love living in this area. “I love the people here,” she said. “My neighbors are wonderful. I just don’t see myself being anywhere else.”