One of the best kept secrets in the United States, if not around the globe, has been Trevecca University. It really isn’t a secret in Tennessee, especially to those in the state who value high quality and affordable higher education. It is as well-regarded for helping grow the minds and spirit of their students, as well as a highly respected faculty. Trevecca graduates enter their chosen occupation with the necessary skills, knowledge, and preparation. This is especially true at the School of Education at Trevecca Nazarene University led by Dr. Suzann Harris (pictured, left).
Our organization, the Professional Educators of Tennessee, annually recognizes leaders in the field of education. This year we recognized Dr. Suzann “Suzie” Barker Harris with one of our prestigious “Friend of the Educator” Award. There were many factors that went into that decision.
First, we look at individuals or groups that have made what we consider a significant contribution to education and/or the profession. Dr. Harris certainly has had an invaluable influence throughout her career and serves as an inspiration to others. She has been a director and teacher in special education (K-12), an early childhood and elementary teacher, childcare director, educational therapist for the learning disabled, professor and finally the Dean of the School of Education. While at Trevecca, she received the Faculty Member of the Year, Teaching Excellence award. Her career is a field study in the fact that hard work and excellence in your field is appreciated. So, we believe her contributions to the field of public education is substantial, and hopefully ongoing.
Second, we like practitioners. Dr. Harris is actively engaged in our profession. Her passion for helping educators reach their career goals is legendary in public education. She works to help educators advance their own careers and works with them to identify how to be better educators. It is understood that professional learning by educators further develops the competence, confidence and leadership skills, which lead to higher achievement for students. Teachers are the key people educating the next generation. Dr. Harris is preparing them for that challenging task.
Finally, we like to honor actively-engaged people of high moral character. Suzie Harris displays her high standards, both educationally and ethically on a daily basis. She is a wife and a mother. Her Christian values always advocate scholarship, critical thinking, and preparation to students to live lives of leadership and service to others. She takes her responsibility seriously and does all she can embracing the opportunity in her critical leadership role as Dean of the School of Education.
Dr. Suzann Harris has served at Trevecca Nazarene University since 2012. The prestige of the School of Education continues to be elevated under her guidance and direction. That is why Professional Educators of Tennessee chose Dr. Susie Harris as a Friend of the Educator in 2018. She is a shining star for Trevecca and a model for people of faith who is worthy of distinction to all educators.
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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. Follow him on social media via Twitter at @jcbowman. He is also an alumnus of Trevecca University.