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Compass Profiles: Bonnie Cowen

posted Sat, Jun 16, 2018

Categories: Compass profiles

This summer, we will be highlighting members of the Compass Community.  This could include staff members, founding families, volunteers, board members, school designers, students or community partners.

Get to know us.



Staff: Bonnie Cowen

Teacher-Adviser: Social Studies / Psychology
Compass Historian

Six Word Memoir: 

“Roads less traveled brought her here.”

What’s your educational specialty/background?

Secondary Social Studies, Masters of Education: Instructional Leadership

Why Compass?

I had a strong desire to return to teaching and sensed my hiatus was nearing an end. I was struggling, though, because I knew I could not return to the same teaching environment I had left behind. Instead, I was confident I needed to be part of a more fully integrated and innovative approach to education where ALL students are encouraged to:

  • be courageous
  • take risks not yet considered
  • ask meaningful relevant questions
  • solve real-world problems by exploring passions and possibilities
  • create something from nothing
  • build on past successes
  • and are challenged to look deeper at themselves, the connectedness of community, and how they impact the world.

It was serendipitous that I then found Compass Community Collaborative School - a school that has actualized this very school environment. I completely trust I belong here and am so excited to join the Compass team and go back to my professional passion: teaching.

What are five things that you know to be true?
  1. Life is not fair.
  2. Fair is not equal.
  3. The people we surround ourselves with matter; we need to choose them remarkably.
  4. The words we say matter; language shapes the way we think about and perceive reality.
  5. Humor is a saving grace
What is one question you are still searching for the answer to?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I also wrestle with the concept that space is infinite.

If you could wake up tomorrow with one new quality or ability, what would it be?

I think it would be cool to be able to do backflips. Lots of them. Lots of them in a row. If I could do, say, a triple backflip, I’m pretty certain I would exit scene in this fashion, often. I’d say, “Good-bye,” or “fill-in-the-blank” for whatever fits the occasion properly… then backflip-backflip-backflip. Cowen Out. Yep, that would be sweet.

What would constitute a “perfect day”?

Wake up late morning, have a strong cup of coffee with cream and sugar, sit in the woods by the river with a compelling read, ride bikes to a sushi lunch, root for a Chicago Cubs win while sitting in perfect afternoon baseball weather at Wrigley Field, cook delicious dinner with my dearest peeps at home (with lots of laughter), and then head out to watch a favorite band play into the night…

What are some of your favorite quotes?

Here’s a few of mine:
“Respect 90.” – Joe Maddon
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi