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Mary Cowhey taught first and second grade and Title 1 Math at Jackson St. School in Northampton, MA for 22 years. She is the author of Families With Power: Centering Students by Engaging With Families and Community (Teachers College Press 2022) and Black Ants and Buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades (Stenhouse, 2006), winner of the 2008 National Association for Multicultural Education Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award and the 2007 Skipping Stones magazine Multicultural Book Award. She was a community organizer for fourteen years before becoming a teacher.


In 2007, Mary Cowhey, Eneida Garcia, Maria Aguilar and Kim Gerould co-founded Familias con Poder/ Families With Power, a grass roots organizing effort among low-income families of color, using a popular education approach. Families With Power aims to cultivate grass roots leadership among parents, guardians and youth and to help children succeed.

Mary Cowhey has received numerous awards for her teaching and activism, including the Milken National Educator Award, the Anti-Defamation League World of Difference Award, a National League of Women Voters Award, the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Alumni Award, MA AgriScience Excellence Award, and the MA Public Health Association Frontline Award. Her essays and articles on education have been published in What Keeps Teachers Going, Why We Teach, Dear Paulo: Letters From Those Who Dare Teach, Teaching With Fire, Multicultural Tools and Strategies for Teaching Young Children, Learning for Justice, Rethinking Schools, Instructor, Connect and public radio. Her creative non-fiction and prose poetry have been published in The Sun and Families, Systems and Health. Mary Cowhey lives with her husband, Bill Blatner, and five chickens in Northampton, MA.