Principal, Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School
The signature statement on Terry Powe’s e-mail is “teamwork makes the dream work.” It’s a principle she believes in and one she heard frequently from her father as a child.
Powe employs the concept in every aspect of her life, which is devoted to helping children succeed.
The decision to leave her job as a literacy coach for the Springfield school system in its reading program and become principal of Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School in 2009 was difficult due to its history and the challenges she knew she would encounter. When she took the job, the school was deemed underperforming by state standards. But this year, double-digit gains in math as well as significant gains in English-language arts raised its status to ‘adequate’ for the first time in eight years.
It has not been an easy task, and Powe’s days are filled with difficult decisions. “But everyone who knows me knows that I get my strength from the Lord Jesus Christ,” she said, explaining that her father was a minister and she grew up in the church.
Her strong spiritual core has helped make her an “adventurous and multi-dimensional person,” evidenced in the variety of civic and volunteer activities she has engaged in.
Powe is a basketball coach for the Longmeadow Parks and Recreation Department, and was director of a Better Chance program in Longmeadow. In that capacity, she and her family — her husband, Maurice (a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2011), and children Tamira, Maurice Jr., and Maya — joined other members in giving young inner-city youths from New York and New Jersey a home while they went to school in Longmeadow.
She has also been involved in the Leadership Emergence and Development Program in Springfield that connects professionals with nonprofit volunteer opportunities, was a Cornerstone Coach, and has conducted school reviews across the nation.
“I dedicate a lot of my time and energy to helping children,” she said. ”It’s been a passion from the time I was little. I’ve always loved to help little people.”
— Kathleen Mitchell