BLUFORD – Educator Brock Harris hopes his 11 years of experience in the criminal justice field will serve him well as the new principal at Webber Township High School.
This is Harris’ first job in education administration, but he is confident about meeting the new challenges ahead.
Harris, 38, was previously a special education teacher, but most of his career has been spent as a correctional officer, including working seven years at the Illinois Youth Center at Harrisburg. He officially started as principal at Webber Township High School July 1.
“Any type of experience in the private sector (is helpful),” Harris said. “As a teacher, I try to set a positive example by staying late and coming in early. I lead by example.”
After graduating high school, Harris attended Rend Lake College, then John A. Logan College. He then tested with the Illinois Department of Corrections to become a correctional officer.
His first job in this capacity was at Stateville Correctional Center. After two years there, he transferred to Tamms Correctional Center and later to the Illinois Youth Center at Harrisburg, a juvenile detention facility.
Throughout all this, though, becoming an educator was always in the back of Harris’ mind. His wife is a teacher and she helped influence his decision to move into education.
“I wasn’t terribly happy with what I was doing,” Harris said. “(My wife) encouraged me to go back and get my special education teaching certification.”
Harris earned his certificate at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and was hired as a special education teacher at Thompsonville High School in 2008.
During his five years at Thompsonville, Harris received his administrative certification and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Harris said he is taking an open-minded approach to his new role as principal at Webber Township High School.
“I’m just trying to keep an open mind and trying to stay ahead of everything (to) be the best administrator I can be,” Harris said. “I just want to get to know the students and the staff.”