Cheryl Miller Harrison spent 33 of her 34 years in education in Grady County, mainly at Southside Elementary.
"I have loved working with children and watching them become successful adults," Harrison said. "It has been rewarding to see some of my former students become teachers themselves."
The former principal of Southside Elementary School said, "I especially enjoyed working with the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce to bring The Leader in Me Program to Southside Elementary."
After retiring on July 1, Harrison is now at Brookwood School in Thomasville, serving as interim director of the Lower School following the departure of Ashley Harper, who had been at Brookwood since 2001 and is now the Lower School director at Winchester-Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Harrison, who was named Teacher of the Year for Northside and Southside schools, won the 2009 Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce Community Impact Award and completed the Georgia Department of Education Leadership 21 Program.
"All of us at Brookwood are very excited and fortunate to have attracted Mrs. Harrison back at her alma mater," said Mike Notaro, Brookwood headmaster. "She is a known commodity as an educator and administrator in Grady and Thomas counties and will be a perfect fit as our interim Lower School director."
Harrison, who entered Brookwood when it opened in 1970, graduated in Brookwood's first graduating class in 1974.
She said, "I am honored to be returning as the interim Lower School director. I have fond memories of cheerleading, sporting events, special teachers, including Mrs. Ann Larson, who still teaches there, and friends from several classes."
She remains friends with her Upper School classmates, saying that Facebook helps them connect.
"I recently visited Lynn Gainey Massey, who wrote the Brookwood Alma Mater," Harrison said. "Another classmate, Susan Waters, teaches kindergarten at Brookwood."
Harrison noted, "As a high school student at Brookwood, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. However, I never dreamed that I would have a desk in the former headmaster's office and be a part of the Brookwood administration."
Ann Larson, who heads the Brookwood English Department, said, "I am thrilled that Cheryl is joining us at Brookwood. As her English teacher for two of her high school years, I remember her ability to think deeply and write well. She was also kind and gentle with an easy smile, the perfect qualities needed for her work with Lower School students."
Harrison said Brookwood's academic buildings and athletic facilities have been expanded and improved tremendously since she was a student there.
"The buildings and grounds are beautiful," she observed."The playground is the most fabulous area for children that I have seen. The warm, nurturing atmosphere and cohesive family feeling are very much the same. I have appreciated the welcoming e-mails and visits from parents, faculty, and students."
Among Harrison's recognitions in her career, she was named Teacher of the Year for Northside and Southside, she won the 2009 Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce Community Impact Award, and she was named to the Georgia Department of Education Leadership 21 Program.
Her husband, Carl Harrison, is a regional residential placement specialist in the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.
Their son Matt Harrison is an accountant with Richter and Co. in Cairo. His wife Robbie Harrison is a Thomas County Central agriculture teacher and the Thomas County Teacher of the Year.
Their son Jarrett Harrison is a juvenile probation officer with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. His wife Adrienne Harrison is executive director of the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. They are parents of a daughter, Ellie, 20-months-old.