Dr. Jan Harris announced last week she was planning to retire as superintendent of city schools by the end of the school year, which took many people by surprise in the community.
Harris was recently awarded a contract extension by the school board which for those concerned about public education was welcome news. After all, under the guidance of Harris the Cullman school system has marched forward in many valuable ways for local students.
Test scores among Cullman students are among the best in the state. The school system is ranked third in Alabama because of the academic achievements of the students and the efforts of teachers and administrators.
The school system’s technology program is also top-notch for public schools. And recently a science building was completed with the help of a local family.
All of this — and more — points to excellent leadership and commitment to academics by the superintendent.
When Harris arrived in Cullman, the city school system had been through some difficult times for a variety of reasons. She arrived as a healer and a leader in academic excellence.
Interestingly, the city school system has now become a major drawing card in the efforts of city officials to attract more jobs and investors to the area. The academic achievement at Cullman is one of the reasons industries and small businesses find the area attractive for relocation or expansion.
The encouraging point in looking at her choice to retire is that Harris, who would be quick to give a lot of other deserving people credit, will be leaving behind a great blueprint for continued academic excellence for area students.
A job well done is perhaps an understatement when considering the presence of Dr. Jan Harris in this community. Understanding and appreciating her dedication to education for young people should remain clear in our minds her retirement becomes official.