Faculty Profile: William Bowman

Years teaching at Prep: William is entering his ninth year teaching physics, third year at Augusta Prep.

Job titles:
He is the Upper School Physics Teacher, who also serves as the school's Chess Club advisor and coach, and Astronomy Club advisor. William is also one of the school's top fans who enjoys attending Prep athletic and other competitive events "to support our students outside the classroom," he said. 
Background: William was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla. He attended Paxon School for Advanced Studies and graduated from there with an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. In high school, he was a captain on the varsity football team, and he also participated in Brain Brawl (Quiz Bowl), Mu Alpha Theta (Math Club), and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

William then attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., majoring in Physics. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2010, later becoming a full-time teacher in 2015. Prior to teaching, he worked as a full-time private tutor, helping high school and college students in Physics and Math course work. After doing that for a number of years, he saw how rewarding it was to help students and decided to become a classroom teacher.

In his first year teaching, William worked at Tampa Preparatory School as a part-time math teacher. After one year, he decided he would much rather teach his real passion - Physics. He found a job at a small day school (Donna Klein Jewish Academy) in Boca Raton, Fla., working there for five years before coming to Prep in 2021. 

How he got into teaching: Teaching, as William put it, "is in my blood." His mother was a teacher for 29 years. His grandmother was a teacher for 35 years.

"But growing up," he said, "the last thing I wanted to be was a teacher. I saw how hard and emotionally taxing teaching was through my mother's experience and did not want that for myself."

After graduating college and "finding myself," he said, he decided to become a private tutor. After three years helping others with their schoolwork, he began getting peppered with the same question from parents and children: "Why aren't you a teacher?"

William went against his original career plans, applied for a job at Tampa Prep and was surprised when they hired him despite having zero actual classroom teaching experience.

"I guess you could say I nailed the interview," he said. "Once I was actually in the classroom and I saw just how much more of an impact I could have as a teacher over just being a private tutor, I was hooked."
How he found Prep: William found Augusta Prep on the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) website. In 2021, Augusta Prep was one of the few schools in the country with an opening for a Physics teacher. The city of Augusta, with its lower cost of living, he said, seemed way more attractive to him than living in Boca Raton. So he accepted the offer and moved out of Florida for the first time in his life.

"I will always be a Florida boy, though," he said. "Flip-flops and sandals 24/7, 365!" 

What he likes about Prep: William said he enjoys the energy and vitality of the school.

"Prep is an amazing school and so many of the teachers go above and beyond for the students that it just makes you want to do the same just to fit in," he said. "I feel honored to be a part of this community." 

Hobbies: Chess. Astronomy. Singing in his church's choir. He also likes to play disc golf, "although I am not that good," he said. 

One more thing about William: He was part of a research team at UCF that accidently discovered a planet.

"UCF is big on undergraduate research and part of my Physics degree required that I work for a professor in their area of expertise. I decided to work with Dr. Joseph Harrington, one of the leading exoplanet researchers at the time. At that time, exoplanets research was just taking off. One of the first things Dr. Harrington tasked me with doing was finding a more efficient way of targeting the telescope for his observations. During the roughly four years I worked with him from 2007 to 2010, I was responsible for all the data acquisition.

"In 2010, one particular star we had decided to look at gave us back very garbled data. It was a complete mess. When we first met to look at the raw data and discuss the subsequent data analysis, I remember everyone looking at me like, 'What did you do wrong, Bowman?' So I checked back over my work from a over a year prior (yes, science can be slow at times. This is why we keep good logs.) After checking and triple checking my work, I was convinced I had not made a mistake when targeting the telescope. When I brought my work back to the team for everyone to see, they agreed I had done everything right and so we were left trying to understand why the data was so messy. A couple of months later, Dr. Harrington's then grad student, Kevin Stevenson, came back with an answer. The star we were looking at must have a second planet orbiting it. This hypothesis was later confirmed with follow-up observations and the planet was later named UCF-1 after our team who just happened to discover it by accident." 
Augusta Preparatory Day School is an independent, college preparatory school serving children ages 2 through Grade 12 from the greater Augusta-Aiken area. Augusta Prep seeks to enroll a group of diverse students. We follow an open admission policy, whereby qualified candidates are admitted without regard to religion, race, nationality, economic background, or ethnic origin.