McDowell Academy for Innovation

Skip to main content
Main Menu Toggle
Debbie Watson » Bio


Ms. Watson is the Personal Finance teacher and Career Liaison at McDowell Academy for Innovation.  She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she received an Associates of Science in Marketing. She grew up in Marion and graduated from McDowell High school. She has lived in NC all her life except for the 7 years she lived in Connecticut after college when she was pursuing an acting career and performing in Off-Broadway productions in NYC.

Ms. Watson’s teaching philosophy is that all students learn in different ways and at different paces. She feels everyone has room to grow. She feels it is her job to facilitate learning, so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their own personal best.

Ms. Watson volunteers in the community whenever an opportunity arises. In the past, she has helped with Christmas charities, and fundraising for students in various ways at MAI. After a recent hurricane, she went with other friends during our Spring Break to help rebuild houses that were damaged in Gulfport, Mississippi. In addition, she and her husband often donate gift baskets, funding, and gift certificates from her business, Flavors on Main, that benefit many charitable causes throughout the year.

Ms. Watson is a very passionate entrepreneur in Marion, and last year started a business called Flavors on Main.  This shop is her second love in life. The shop sells premium extra virgin olive oils, infused olive oils, infused balsamics, seasonings, teas, and gourmet food.  She and her husband have been devoting a lot of time developing this successful business the past year. She shows her students that with hard work and dedication, even teachers can be business leaders in the community.  

Originally, Ms. Watson did not think she wanted to be a teacher. However, the opportunity to work at the Alternative High School that was operating in downtown Marion opened while she was earning extra money as a substitute teacher. She interviewed for the position and decided to give teaching a try. The experience turned out to be the best decision she ever made. She now loves every day she gets to teach.  She feels it is the greatest job she has ever had.

Ms. Watson has many varied hobbies. She likes to fly fish, hammock camp, and pull her camper to different destinations across North Carolina. In high school, she played the clarinet. Her favorite music is Classic Rock or Gospel music. Her favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas, where she can spend time with her friends and family.  She loves movies and remembers as a teenager liking The Outsiders and The Goonies. She also remembers loving the cinematography and being very affected by Schindler’s List. Two movies that always made her laugh were Elf and Groundhog Day. She also grew up watching westerns with her dad like The Man from Snowy River and Hopalong Cassidy.

All in all, Ms. Watson is a very well rounded and passionate teacher at MAI.  She always has a smile on her face, and supports students in any way she can. Her energy and enthusiasm is very contagious and we are very happy that she considers MAI her home away from home.