My name is Kate McDowell, and this year is my eleventh in education. I grew up in Joliet, IL, and moved to Missouri in 2004 to study journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I spent three years working as a writer at a newspaper in South Carolina before beginning a career as a teacher. I have a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction as well as certification for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Last spring I completed an urban school leadership residency that helped me earn principal certification and an Ed. Specialist degree in school administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. This year is my fifth at KCIA, and I am so grateful to work in a place with such amazing diversity and a strong team of educators. I began my work here as an instructional coach, supporting our teachers of English language learners and our kindergarten through second grade classrooms. I moved to an administrative role last year and now am Director of Curriculum and Instruction. I love to travel, especially to Spanish-speaking countries. I have studied Spanish for several years and have traveled to Spain, Mexico and Guatemala to improve my language skills. In my free time, I also love to read, try new restaurants and spend time with family and friends. My family includes my husband, Sam, my 16-month-old son, Brennan, and a baby girl due in fall 2021.