Harrison High School Principal
What are your main job responsibilities?
The responsibility as a high school principal is endless, but my top priority is always student safety. Beyond school safety, my focus is ensuring that the learning environment at Harrison is positive and productive for our students and teachers. I am certainly thankful for my exceptional administrative team, as we (work) together to support our students and teachers.
What is your background?
This is my eighth year as principal at Harrison. I began my teaching career at Lassiter High School as a language arts teacher and later taught at Kennesaw Mountain High School. I also have served the Cobb County School District as an area lead teacher at Barber Middle School. I later returned to Lassiter as an assistant principal and stayed until I found my way to principalship at Harrison. I have a Bachelor of Science in English education from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Kennesaw State University (KSU) and a specialist degree in educational leadership from KSU.
What has been the biggest job surprise?
One of the things I love about being a principal is that every day is different, so I have learned to expect the unexpected. I would say the biggest surprise, though, after being in education for so long, is I still love working with students and teachers. They inspire me and make me want to do the best job I can to support them.
What is the oddest request you’ve had?
I don’t know that I can pinpoint one thing that has been the most unusual, as I have experienced some intriguing things during my time as principal. The 2017 solar eclipse was interesting, and overseeing a massive SPLOST (special-purpose local-option sales tax) project for our campus required a lot of planning that impacted traffic throughout west Cobb. Of course, any educator would agree that the pandemic rocked the education world. And as long as I have been a school leader, dealing with the loss of a student or teacher never gets easier. Schools are like families, and you connect with the people in your building.
Something unique for me as principal at Harrison was navigating the media when Justin Fields was a student. Having a five-star quarterback generated a lot of college coaches visiting campus. I remember one day, specifically, when Justin announced his college plans; numerous reporters flocked to Harrison, including a helicopter circling overhead. Within 30 minutes, I had to set up a press conference for Justin and his family. There are just some things they don’t teach you when you are taking graduate courses for school leadership!
What do you like most about your job and the high school?
What I love most about Harrison is the family atmosphere among our faculty and staff. Many of our teachers and staff live in or near our community, and their children are students at Harrison. We also have several teachers on staff who are Harrison graduates. This camaraderie is important because it ultimately trickles down to the students in our classrooms. I also love that our parents, feeder schools and local businesses take great pride in supporting our students. The Harrison community truly has embraced our school’s vision of Helping Our Youth Achieve Success. It’s a reminder that a school is always about the people and not any specific program.
What school accomplishment makes you most proud?
School accomplishments since I have been principal include positive trends with academics (SAT and ACT scores), Advanced Placement exams and EOCs (end-of-course exams). Harrison has introduced our STEM program, which has since received several certifications and recognitions. We also have strengthened our Sources of Strength program, which focuses on increasing the student-adult connectedness. We talk a lot about the physical safety of a school, but the emotional safety of a student is equally important.
I also am proud of our Hoya Squad, an inclusive cheer team that blends members of the main cheer squad with special-needs cheerleaders. As principal, my proudest moments are seeing students excel in their everyday lives, whether it is in the classroom or with an extracurricular activity. I also love to see our Hoyas give back to our community. Our students have big hearts, and they definitely have a presence in our feeder schools and other areas of our community. These are just a few things that I am so proud of at Harrison.
What are you most excited about for the school’s future?
There always is work to do and ways to improve. Looking ahead, I want to make sure our students are competitive in the college admissions process and ready for where life will take them after graduation. I also want to continue strengthening our clubs and organizations, so every student has something he or she loves to do outside the classroom.
What are some of your personal and professional goals?
My goal is to keep evolving as a person and an educator. I don’t ever want to become complacent. As soon as I feel myself getting comfortable, I look for an opportunity to help me or Harrison grow.
Tell us about your family and hobbies.
I have been married for 30 years, and my husband and I have two sons. We all are products of the Cobb County School District. When I am not at a Harrison event, I love to hike, travel and watch University of Georgia football. Go Dawgs! My family is very sports-oriented, so it’s likely that you will see us out and about at various athletic events.