TUPELO – Tupelo High School Principal Jason Harris is one of two Mississippi educators to receive a new fellowship designed to help them better their craft.
Harris and Cleveland High School Principal Steven Craddock are the initial recipients for the Ferguson Fellows Program through Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences.
Funded by the Iuka-based Tri State Educational Foundation, the program will provide each recipient with $12,000. That money covers various training experiences, such as attendance at national leadership conferences, class course work and seminars designed around the needs of each individual.
“I’m honored to be selected,” Harris said. “I think that speaks well of the leadership in the school district that has prepared us for this kind of opportunity.”
Harris, who is beginning his third year of leading the 2,100-student school, said the fellowship will allow him to attend the Harvard University Leadership Institute next summer. He also will take a DSU course in the fall and one in the spring toward earning his doctoral degree. Other training opportunities throughout the year will be geared toward his needs.
“The Harvard Leadership Institute is one of the best professional development opportunities you can get,” he said. “You are learning from the top people in public education. And Harvard, that name is synonymous with high standards and cutting edge.”
Harris said the fellowship will be a way to make connections and help the district.
“You can pick up things that make the school better and the district better,” he said. “It is not about personal gain. It is the things I can learn to make my teachers and students better.”
Harris will be mentored in the program by Terry Harbin, a former Tupelo elementary principal who now is on the faculty at DSU. Ferguson Fellows also will work with Bob Ferguson, a former superintendent who was instrumental in establishing the program.
The Tri State Educational Foundation was co-founded in 1999 by Bob and Sylvia Ferguson. It has since provided more than $6 million in scholarships and grant money to support the educational needs of students who are residents within a 50-mile radius of Iuka.