Dr. Sharone Harris, Selwyn Elementary School

  • Sharone Harris, Ed.D., considers the Selwyn Elementary community a family. When anyone enters the campus, she wants them to feel “loved, respected and valued.”

    Building relationships with her students, staff and families is one of the best aspects to Harris of being a principal.

    “Every morning, we greet students, give them high fives and hugs, and check on them,” said Harris. I can tell when a student is not at their best because of the relationships I’ve built with them. Any new student who comes to Selwyn, I welcome them with open arms and give them a tour on the spot. I will drop what I’m doing because I truly am thankful that parents have entrusted me with their child’s safety and education.”

    As a young child, Harris always had a love for education. Her mother and father are both former educators with decades of experience. For years, she watched them spend many hours working with children at their schools, all while balancing family life at home.

    “I wanted to emulate that and become just like them one day,” said Harris.

    In high school, Harris participated in the teacher cadet program, where she was able to craft her skill — utilizing her parents and teachers as a resource to further build on her love of teaching. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and master’s degree from Francis Marion University in South Carolina, Harris moved to Charlotte, where she taught first and second grade at Idlewild Elementary.

    Under the leadership of her then-principal and assistant principal, Harris said they saw something in her that demonstrated leadership. Harris was asked to serve as her grade-level chair, lead the school’s after-school tutoring program and serve as a lead for some of the clubs.

    “She provided a lot of leadership opportunities for me — starting off small to build my confidence as a leader,” said Harris of her principal. “The opportunities to serve in those roles, build my confidence and tap into the skills that I didn’t realize I had helped me become the leader I am today.”

    When Harris was named principal at Selwyn in 2018, she was paired with Catherine Phelan, principal at Sharon Elementary, to serve as her mentor.

    Phelan considered Harris as her thought partner more than her mentee. They still keep in touch daily, bouncing ideas off each other and problem-solving.

    “Dr. Harris is a principal who always leads with her heart,” said Phelan. “She puts people first and ensures that everything she does meets the needs of everyone she works with. I can’t say I would tell her to do anything differently than what she has done throughout the years because she’s always been extremely professional and thoughtful with what she has done before. She has always been a natural in this position because she puts the needs of the community first and knows the needs of her school community.”

    With 28 years in education, Harris said she still has “more to give.” A former student reached out to her via email, stating the impact Harris had on her while she was a student in her classroom.

    Messages like those serve as a reminder to Harris that she’s doing what’s best for her students.

    “Being that type of teacher and principal who can make them not think about their home circumstances, love coming to school and knowing that I listened, loved and adored them, and looked out for their best interests is always positive,” said Harris. “ I always want to make sure I leave that mark on everyone I encounter. I know my bucket was filled as a student and as a child growing up, and I want to make sure that I’m relaying that same positive energy, love, passion and support to others. It’s great to see that everything I’ve hoped for is coming back full circle.”