Black History Today: Caine Lowery, authentic teacher and humble learner

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.


By Marcus Harden


“What a teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”

Many have said that it’s the respect from your peers, no matter the profession, that matters the most.

When I think about men who teach not just from the book but from who they are, full in their authenticity and growth, and inspire students, families and staff, Caine Lowery is one of the first that comes to mind.

As an educator, I’m proud to say I’ve stolen so much of what I’ve learned from Caine Lowery. When you walk into his classroom and you hear a mix of classical music or classical hip-hop playing, you see his presence in front of the classroom exuding knowledge and humility, you know you’re in the presence of a master teacher and learner.

Then, you get the privilege to hear his “why” — the reason he is who he is and does what he does. He openly shares his trials and triumphs with his students, not a sage on the stage but one who is experiencing this life and journey just like many of them have. Letting them know that he believes in them and his high belief and standards won’t waiver, because he won’t quit on them or himself.

Caine has helped shape so many lives in South Seattle, evolving into leadership and still remaining committed to equity through education. Whether in the hallways at Aki Kurose or leading restorative practices at Cleveland High School or marching in rallies, speaking in front of parents and politicians, Caine Lowery is the definition of a teacher.

The old adage is that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Caine continually pushes his students and those whom he leads to perpetual readiness. He embodies authenticity, unwavering belief and commitment to students and families, and this, among many reasons, is why Caine, is Black history, today.