As students and teachers alike prepare for their return to school this September, one administrator, instead, bids farewell. After 11 years at George Mason, Dr. Mary McDowell will be leaving to join the administrative staff of Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County. In her years at Mason, McDowell has held the positions of biology teacher, Science Department Leader, Assistant Principal and most recently, Interim Principal.
Beginning this September, McDowell will be an Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County. According to McDowell, her new responsibilities will include supervising the science and technology division, being the administrator for the class of 2012 and acting as the liaison with the TJ Partnership Fund.
McDowell was an integral part of the George Mason community, impacting both the student body and faculty greatly. Assistant Principal Ken Siekman said that in the six years he knew McDowell, he was impacted positively by her "work ethic and her sense of fairness...she was good at noticing inequities in the way things sometimes worked, and she was adamant that everyone-students, parents and fellow staff-should be treated fairly." This is something, he added, that "takes real courage and strength of character."
Principal Tyrone Byrd stated that while he only knew McDowell for one year, he "quickly became impressed with her as a professional and as a friend," and added that she is an "intelligent, hard-working, and thoughtful professional who loves children and her colleagues."
When asked what she will miss most about Mason, McDowell said without hesitation, "the people-students and staff" adding, "Who I am professionally was largely shaped by my experiences at GM with the students, the staff, and the community. Thank you all for being a part of my life for so many years."
While McDowell's departure will be a great loss, we know she will be a valuable and appreciated addition to Thomas Jefferson, just as she was here at George Mason. In the words of Principal Byrd, while we will miss her "focus and immense professional knowledge, our loss is truly T.J.'s gain."