Fran Bouwman felt that the opportunity to work as a teacher with the founding class of Headwaters Academy was a professional journey that she simply could not miss. As an educator, artist, and musician Fran has always gravitated towards environments that are both professionally challenging and inspiring.
For the past two decades she has participated in progressive education environments for youth from ages four through eighteen in the Georgian Bay area as well as First Nations communities in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Locally, Fran helped launch Georgian Bay Youth Roots, a youth-led organization promoting youth perspectives and events in the town of the Blue Mountains. Through Beaver Valley Outreach, Fran ran the Blue Mountains Homework Club and Youth Music, equipping students with valuable educational skills and homework habits and inspiring young people to express themselves creatively.
Fran’s work with Elephant Thoughts allowed her to travel to James Bay, Quebec to improve the graduation rates in Cree (Eeyou Istchee) schools. Stunned by the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous education, Fran fought hard to become culturally competent, for the first time grasping the long-term effects of colonialism for Indigenous children. Linking self-esteem and identity to culture and history, Fran sought to have the history curriculum rewritten to promote and reflect their traditional land-based culture. Fran was hired, not only to develop the curriculum, but write a 500-page Eeyou Istchee history textbook.
Having worked in educationally and culturally diverse environments, Fran has acquired strategies that highlight the importance of differentiated instruction, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, healthy-active living, inquiry-based learning and multiple intelligences. She is committed to providing both nurturing and challenging learning environments.
Fran continues to sculpt and create music in her geodesic dome in the forest. She takes advantage of what’s on her doorstep – canoeing, skiing, hiking and swimming.