Graham Elementary Principal Amy Low has Bethel in her blood.
Not only was she born here, but she also graduated from Bethel High School, taught at several Bethel schools, and is now the leader at Graham Elementary.
From a distance it might appear that Low’s journey was a straight line that inevitably led her into a career in education, but that’s not the case at all.
Before the thought of becoming a teacher or principal ever entered her mind, Low dreamed of being a pilot.
As a child she hoped to join the Air Force and later study aerospace engineering. Poor eyesight and other life distractions put a damper on her flying plans, but that disappointment was short-lived as Low soon found her true calling: working with children.
She went off to college and, by chance, took a class in early childhood education. She was intrigued, and her path toward becoming a teacher had officially begun.
After graduating and earning her teaching credentials, she accepted a position at Bethel Middle School teaching English and immediately fell in love with the job.
“I enjoyed the people I worked with and I could tell that everyone I worked with wanted to make a positive difference for kids,” she said. “I enjoyed the kids I worked with and I was having fun!”
Low spent five years at BMS before moving on to Bethel High and later helping to open Graham-Kapowsin High School. It was during that time that she began thinking about becoming a principal.
Like most teachers who transition into administrative roles, Low struggled with the idea of leaving her classroom. She believed she was ready to lead a school, but she didn’t want to lose that special connection with students that only teachers have.
After much deliberation, she decided to accept the principalship at Graham Elementary, and as she enters her seventh year in that role she has no regrets.
“I miss that one-on-one with the kids, but working in administration allows me to have that influence outside of just my classroom,” she said.
You can’t truly know what’s it’s like to run an elementary school until you’ve done it. Among many, many other qualities, Low said having patience and a sense of humor are musts when it comes to being a principal.
“You really need so much in your tool kit,” she said. “You have to have grace and be able to forgive yourself and forgive others. You have to be able to pick yourself up and go forward and do it again and do it better.”
Low and her husband have two of their own children, including a daughter who attends Graham Elementary. She loves having her daughter so close, but Low admits the dual role of mom and principal hasn’t always been ideal for her daughter.
“My fourth grader has said to me a few times, ‘Mom, I’m going to talk to dad about something because I don’t want you to know, because you’re my principal,’” she said.
Low admits she’s a bit biased on the subject, but she believes Graham Elementary is among the very best schools in the district and beyond.
“This is a great place for your kid to go to school,” she said. “The teachers care and the kids feel safe when they come to this school. They feel like their teachers care about them and they push them to do well.”