Due to world travels, teacher has better understanding of classes, students

Mitch Sundquist, Staff Writer

Social studies teacher Brian Mowry started his sixth year at Blue Valley this year and has taught Area Studies: Asia and Area Studies: Middle East since he began. He also began teaching AP Government when Blue Valley Southwest opened.
Students enjoy Mowry as a teacher because he has a unique style of teaching. Senior Dalton Funk, who was in Mowry’s Area Studies: Asia class his junior year, said Mowry is unlike any teacher he has ever had.
“He is one of my favorite teachers of all time,” Funk said. “He doesn’t teach how a normal teacher does. He’s really original.”
Mowry said he wanted to be a veterinarian from an early age. However, his AP U.S. History and English teachers during his junior year of high school persuaded him to teach.
“They were just dynamic and awesome,” he said. “I thought, ‘Yeah, this is the way to go, I think that’s where my talents lie.’”
Mowry has lived and traveled around the world. He lived in China for a year and in Israel for two years after he married his wife. Not only do these experiences give him stories to tell, but he said they also provide extended knowledge for the Area Studies classes.
“When I got the job [at BV], Principal [Scott] Bacon had talked about how he had those two classes,” he said. “The fact that I lived in China and the Middle East kind of led me to those.”
Athletic Director Matt Ortman, Mowry’s brother-in-law, said he believes Mowry’s travels provide his students with an extraordinary learning opportunity.
“When he teaches Area Studies: Middle East and Asia, he’s got real-life stories to tell, and he’s very knowledgeable on the subject,” Ortman said.
Funk also said Mowry has an extra edge due to his traveling.
“He is extremely enthusiastic about what he teaches because he has been through it,” he said. “He wants to share his knowledge.”
Mowry is involved with a number of activities at BV, such as coaching freshman basketball and sponsoring the National History Honor Society. Otherwise, he spends his time outside of school in a variety of ways.
“I am currently training for a triathlon, so that’s taking up a lot of time because I’m swimming a ton,” Mowry said. “And I just got a fishing license, so I’m going to try to start fishing.”
Mowry said he enjoys teaching at BV because of the collaborative atmosphere.
“Teachers work very well here together and are willing to share and experiment,” he said. “It makes it a fun and challenging place to work.”
Mowry said he is popular with his students because of his “hands-off” teaching approach. He said he prefers to let his students motivate themselves and give them a chance to fail, which he believes is a great lesson to learn.
“I’m not the best motivator, and it’s partly by design,” Mowry said. “If you’re waiting in your life for people to motivate you, you’re going to live a pretty mediocre life.”