New Board Member Sworn in at January meeting
By Lori Dugan
Thatcher, AZ—The Graham County Community College District Governing Board met this month at Eastern Arizona College. During this regular monthly meeting, the Board’s newest member, Marrianne Rowley, was sworn in.
Rowley’s ties to the Gila Valley go back to 1882, when her grandparents, Elias and Henrietta Taylor Tidwell, came to the Solomonville, Arizona Territory from Texas.
She attended school in Solomonville and went on to graduate from Safford High School. While in high school, she was Ocotilla Queen, served as Worthy Advisor in the Rainbow Girls, and worked after school, on weekends, and during the summer at Modern Dress Shop in Safford.
She went to school at EAC, got married, and became the mother of four children: Elizabeth Hinton, a respiratory therapist; Brenda Hinton Harvey, an early childhood teacher at Safford High School; Marie Johnson, a leadership teacher at Thatcher Middle School; and Max T. Hinton, owner of Hinton Taxidermy and Meat Processing, who also teaches a class in taxidermy at EAC.
Rowley worked for Solomonville Head Start, ultimately becoming the director of Graham County Head Start, serving in Safford and Little Hollywood. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arizona and then taught for four years at Eloy Junior High School. While there, Rowley received her Master of Education degree from the University of Arizona.
After her time in Eloy, Rowley moved to Bullhead City and taught 4th and 6th grade and served as the home economics teacher at the junior high. While in Bullhead City, she began a reading program called, “Love to Read” and introduced it at Thatcher when she moved home to the Gila Valley. Love to Read was picked up by a graduate student working at the Arizona Department of Education and the program became the nationwide “Love of Reading Week.”
After moving back to Graham County, she taught for 16 years at Thatcher Elementary School before retiring. While there, she introduced several fun educational programs, including “Say No to Drugs,” “Renaissance Faire,” “Knowledge Bowl,” and “Airplane Food Drive.”
During her time at Thatcher schools, Rowley also began working on a doctorate in Educational Administration and at time of her retirement was just nine on-campus hours away from the degree.
Retirement has not slowed Rowley down. Her current social activities include memberships in the Rojo Somberos Red Hats Club and the Woman’s Club of Safford, where she is currently serving as the education chairman for the state of Arizona for the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs. She belongs to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 32, and has volunteered nearly 5000 hours to the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center Auxiliary, a group for which she also serves as president.
Serving EAC has been a family tradition for Rowley with her great-grandfather, Charles Martin Layton, serving on the Governing Board when EAC was St. Joseph Academy. Her father, Elias Tidwell, served in the 1960’s, and uncle, Ted Lee, also served during the 1970s.