Tomi Lowes ’02 M ’10

Mark Twain Elementary Principal for Hannibal Public School District in Hannibal, MO

Bachelors in Education, Masters in Education

Please describe your position and what you enjoy most about it.

I am currently the principal at Mark Twain Elementary in Hannibal, MO. I will be entering my second year in this position for the 2021-2022 school year. One thing I love the most about my job is the teachers that I work alongside. They have a passion and desire to see our students succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the teachers still came to work each day on their A game and put the students academic and personal needs first.

What aspects of your HLGU experience helped you prepare for your career?

The aspects of my HLGU experience helped me prepare for my career by giving me opportunities to be in classrooms around the district. I was able to meet and see different teaching techniques used as a pre-service teacher. Then in my master’s program with HLGU, I was able to immediately use information learned from the classes and implement them into my classroom.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

The thing I have most enjoyed about my career is how I have grown as a professional. I was in the classroom for 18 years before becoming a principal. That experience has helped develop me into the instructional leader I am now for my building. I really love getting to know and build relationships with the students, too.

Have you or are you currently continuing your education? If so, please list the institution(s) and degree(s) you earned or are working toward.

Masters in Education, 2010 at HLGU
Masters in Administration, 2016 at MO Baptist
Specialist in Superintendency, 2019 at MO Baptist

Please share a specific example from your career or life when the skills you gained at HLGU helped you most.

I understand the human brain and how kids think better because of one of my master classes with Dr. Albee. She was not at the university during my undergraduate degree. I heard a lot about her and how “hard” she was by students of the university when they would student teach in my classroom or observe in my room. Then I had her myself as a student during my master’s program and she was wonderful! The knowledge I gained during her classes was amazing. I, myself, was able to grow as an educator because of what she taught me.

What HLGU professors played a part in your success? How did your relationship with faculty help you succeed?

I loved all of the HLGU professors in the education department. Each one of them were very unique and different in their personalities and teaching styles. I so appreciate each and everyone of them even to today. Most of them are not in the education department anymore, but still live in the Hannibal area and I love running into them and being able to catch up with them.

Do you have any tips to share with students interested in this field?

A tip I have for students interested in education is to ask questions. You will not know and or understand everything presented to you. That is ok. Ask and research to learn more. One of your hardest years teaching will be your first. Lean on those around you to help you get through all the ins and outs that are demanded of you as a first year teacher. This is one of the hardest, but most rewarding careers you can get into.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in the field?

One thing I know now that I wish I would have known when I started in education was to ask for help. It is ok not to know it all. I wish I would have understood the collaborative nature of education and worked closer with other educators in my building.