Educator: John Rowan is March’s Queen Creek Hometown Hero

Posted 2/28/22

Calling John Rowan a popular teacher is an understatement. About 100 of his students at American Leadership Academy Queen Creek High School at nominated him as a Hometown Hero.

The mother of one …

This story requires a subscription for $5.99/month.

Already have an account? Log in to continue.

Current print subscribers can create a free account by clicking here.

Otherwise, click here to subscribe.

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe. The five stories do not include our exclusive content written by our journalists.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, digital subscribers will receive unlimited access to, including exclusive content from our newsroom and access to our Daily Independent e-edition.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

Educator: John Rowan is March’s Queen Creek Hometown Hero


Calling John Rowan a popular teacher is an understatement. About 100 of his students at American Leadership Academy Queen Creek High School nominated him as a Hometown Hero.

The mother of one of his students, Nicole Sanchez, led the way.

“His class focuses on community policing/relations, morals and values for students considering any kind of police work, ethics and problem-oriented policing,” Sanchez said. “He is an absolute favorite among all the students. At a time when schools are online, students are falling behind and depressed, Mr. Rowan steps up to save the day again.

He teaches Law & Public Safety Career Technical Education classes and 8th-grade Citizenship & Civic Engagement at ALA Queen Creek High. And her brings real-world experience to his work.

Before moving to Arizona, he worked in the New York City Police Department, and he lived through one of the most harrowing day in modern American history.

His apartment was a block away from the South Tower when it went down on 9/11. Despite his home being destroyed, Rowan still fulfilled his duties as a first responder, rescuing many survivors, assisting those that were injured and going back into the rubble day after day to save as many lives as he could.

 When he finally managed to return to the rubble that was his home, he found that his beloved Dachshund Jake miraculously survived. This prompted him to write a children's book, "Jake the Bombed Out Bomb Dog."

After moving to Arizona he served as assistant to the chief of police in Goodyear for five years. When he retired he decided to go into teaching to help students find their path in life and to become better citizens.

Name: John Rowan

Age: 58

Business Name: American Leadership Academy Queen Creek High School

Town/neighborhood: Queen Creek

When and why I moved here: Four years ago I was given the opportunity to teach at ALA QCHS and relocated from the West Valley so I could help inspire today’s youth.

What I like most about living here: I love the warm and friendly environment. The culture and values that stand out within the community.  As well as the abundance of activities in the community geared toward family.

What I do: I teach Law & Public Safety Career Technical Education classes and 8th Grade Citizenship & Civic Engagement classes. The Law & Public Safety CTE Classes teaches today’s youth about law enforcement, the careers within it (not just law enforcement, but also lawyers, judges, dispatchers and private security).  Students also learn a clear and precise understanding of the laws within our community. Students are able to earn dual enrollment credit as well as receive a two-year Technical Assessment Certificate in the field.  

Personal background highlights: I was born and raised in New York and lived in New York City before moving West to Arizona. My apartment was a block away from the South Tower at the time of 9/11.  I worked on a special task force after 9/11 dealing with the terrorist attack. I have authored three books. “Jake, the Bombed Out Bomb Dog,” my children’s book, was written with my daughter to help children understand disabilities and how to overcome and utilize other strengths that they possess. I also have authored two novels, “9/11: the Fifth Plane” and “The Four Horsemen.”.  

Professional background highlights: I am retired from the NYPD and law enforcement. I am a 9/11 survivor (was part of the PD at the time and survived the collapse of the South Tower). I have been a college educator for more than 12 years at local colleges and currently teach dual enrollment classes for the Law & Public Safety CTE classes where students can earn up to 12 credits toward their degree at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.  

What I like most about what I do: Inspiring today’s youth who are interested in law enforcement as a career and teaching and explaining American history, which is one of my greatest hobbies as well.  

What does being nominated for this category mean to you? It is truly an honor to be recognized for all my hard work. Knowing that several of my students put me in for this award tells me that I have made a positive impact in their lives.  

What does it mean to be a Queen Creek resident? Queen Creek is a growing community and I enjoy being a part of that growth. I hope to continue to help our youth in identifying their career paths.  

What do you think you bring to the local community that makes it better? A lifetime of experience within law enforcement and over 20 years of teaching in classrooms.  

What would you tell people about why it's important to make a difference in Queen Creek? It is important that we have a highly educated labor force so that additional employers come to Queen Creek and create jobs for the future generations that will live here.

Changes I'd like to see in this area: Being from NY I would like to see more Broadway theater type options within the area (i.e., dinner theaters, plays and musicals).  More activity-based centers or parks for our youth.  Additional bicycle paths and trails for recreational and safe riding.  And the continued outreach to our youth with options for technical education opportunities, like ALA Applied Technologies that is opening in Queen Creek this coming August.  

Favorite community cause & why: I am a true advocate for no-kill shelters and rescues and finding animals a forever home. I believe your pet is just like having a child and needs love and nurturing to have a happy life.  

My family: I am married to the love of my life, a parent of six children, five grandchildren (three of whom have been born in the last six months) and own multiple rescued dogs from local shelters.

My interests and hobbies: History, visiting historical sites, bicycling and working with dogs. I love to travel and retrace the steps of our military in WWII. I have visited many countries overseas and it gives me the insight to share when teaching history, along with all the photos.  

The trait(s) I admire in others: Loyalty, courage, patriotism and perseverance.

People who inspired me (and how): Many historical figures who constantly showed examples of strong moral values and persevered in their field. And my mother who did a wonderful job as a single parent to raise me and my siblings in NY.  

My guiding philosophy: To always maintain a positive spiritual and moral compass no matter what the situation.

My advice to today’s youth: To live in the moment, pay attention to the people and events happening around them and put their electronics down (i.e., cell phones, game systems).  Many of today’s youth waste their time on electronic devices and miss out on the most important things around them -- the human experience. 

Queen Creek, Hometown Hero, John Rowan, educator