DR. GENE T. HARRIS
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools | 2001- Present
Welcome to the Columbus City Schools. It is my honor and privilege to serve the Columbus students, parents and community. Over 50,000 students call Columbus City Schools home, and we take our responsibility to provide them with the highest quality educational experience very seriously.
On the 2010–2011 State Report Card, CCS earned a Continuous Improvement rating. Our Performance Index was 81.8, up from 80.3 in 2009-2010, and we met the Value-Added Measure score.
Based the 2011 State Report Card the District posted gains in many areas including some of our highest accomplishments to date: graduation rate (77.6 percent), attendance rate (94.5 percent), and Performance Index Score (81.8).
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Dr. Harris Named 2012 Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Gene T. Harris is a Columbus native with deep roots within the local community and has been recognized by regional organizations such as the United Way of Central Ohio for her contributions to public service. She is a member of the Columbus Rotary, and serves on the Boards of Trustees of Ohio University and Action for Children. She is also a Trustee and Sunday school teacher at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.
Since her appointment in 2001 as Superintendent, Columbus City Schools has undertaken ambitious capital improvements, investing more than $521 million in new facilities with work completed on time and within budget. In 2008, voters approved a combined 7.85 mill levy and 1.13 mill bond issue. From this bond issue, $123 million is being used to replace or renovate 10 more schools and $41 million to purchase new buses, textbooks and computers – while making $76 million in reductions to remain fiscally responsible. Other initiatives target increased parents and community engagement, and higher standards of customer service.
In the 2010-2011 school year, Harris implemented several new school options; the opening of two gender-based middle schools, a new international high school, a new K-8 international studies program, and a district-wide STEM program. U.S. News and World Report ranked twelve of the district’s high schools among the nation’s best in their 2010 “America’s Best High Schools” report; one high school received the “silver” award designation and eleven others received a “bronze” designation.
Under Harris’ tenure, Columbus City Schools has entered into innovative partnerships with institutions of higher education. These partnerships have resulted in the Seniors to Sophomores program, the Africentric Early College at Columbus State Community College, the DeVry Advantage Academy, the Columbus Teaching Academy on the Ohio State University campus, and the Schoenbaum Family Center located on the Weinland Park campus. The district also partners with I Know I Can, a college access program in Columbus.
Additional Columbus City Schools academic initiatives include a no cost Summer Institute to help students pass the Ohio Graduation Test; a K-12 summer program available to all students; a Virtual High School Program which enables students to earn credits online; and a Credit Recovery Program that allows students to retake classes and continue to earn credits toward graduation.
Dr. Harris is Ohio’s longest serving urban school superintendent and maintains a solid relationship with peers across the state, but particularly in central Ohio where she has been repeatedly selected to serve as the head of the Educational Council. Gene Harris is worthy of this award for her service and deserving through her dedication; ultimately, when you think of a school superintendent, Gene Harris is personifies the passion, dedication and skills necessary for the position.
Dr. Harris' Bio
Dr. Harris' Bio
Dr. Gene T. Harris is the 19th superintendent and chief executive officer of the Columbus City Schools (CCS). The largest Ohio district, CCS serves the needs of more than 50,000 students in 118 schools, and over 7,700 employees. She’s a Columbus native with deep roots in the local community and direct experience with public schools as diverse as Ghana and China.
Harris holds a doctorate from Ohio University (OU), earned her master’s degree from The Ohio State University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, and a honorary doctorate from Franklin University. A graduate of Linden-McKinley High School, Harris was admitted to Notre Dame as an upperclassman in the first year the school accepted women. After graduating, she returned to the district to teach English and drama, moving from the classroom to a supervisor of principals and then deputy superintendent in 2000. She became superintendent in 2001.
Harris understands that strong public schools are essential to our nation’s future. She asks staff, parents, and community members to “reach higher” so that every student achieves to the level of his or her full potential.
Since 2002, CCS has invested more than $521 million in new facilities, with the work completed on time and within budget. In 2008, voters approved a combined 7.85 mill levy and 1.13 mill bond issue, generating $77 million annually in operating funds. From this bond issue, $123 million is being used to replace or renovate 10 more schools and $41 million to purchase new buses, textbooks and computers – while making $76 million in reductions to remain fiscally responsible. Other initiatives target increased parent and community engagement, and higher standards of customer service.
In 2010-2011 school year, Harris implemented several new initiatives; the opening of two gender—based middle schools, one for boys and one for girls, a new international high school and a new k-8 international studies program. These programs are in addition to the STEM focused schools district wide which uses technology, classroom lessons and industry internships to prepare students for work in the key fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. U.S. News and World Report ranked 12 of the district’s high schools among the nation’s best in their 2010 America’s Best High Schools report; one high school receiving the “silver” award designation and 11 others receiving a “Bronze” designation.
Academic Initiatives include a no cost Summer Institute to help students pass the Ohio Graduation Test; a K-12 summer program available to all students; a Virtual High School Program which enables students to earn credits online; and the Credit Recovery Program that allows students to retake classes and continue to earn credits toward graduation.
Other academic gains include the creation of the CCS Higher Education Partnership (HEP) which provides a single point of contact between the district and 11 central Ohio colleges/universities to develop programs that boost student achievement and college readiness.
Initiatives aligned under the HEP include the Seniors to Sophomores program, the Africentric Early College at Columbus State Community College, the DeVry Advantage Academy, the Columbus Teaching Academy on The Ohio State University (OSU) campus, and the Schoenbaum Family Center located on the Weinland Park campus. The district also partners with I Know I Can, a college access program in Columbus.
The Seniors to Sophomores program allows high school students to earn one year of college credit from local institutions of higher learning. The DeVry Advantage Academy started in July 2006. By June 2011, approximately 112 CCS students attended DeVry University full-time their last two years of high school and through dual credit, earned both their high school diploma and an Associates Degree in Network Systems Administration/Web Graphic Design.
A Columbus Rotary member, Harris serves as Chair on the Board of Trustees for Ohio University and as a board member on the Board of Trustees for Action for Children. In 2012, she was named Ohio Superintendent of the Year by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. She has twice received the Ingram Award for outstanding leadership as a principal. Dr. Harris has also won the Champion of Children and the Children's Hunger Alliance Educator of the Year awards, among many others. Currently a Sunday school teacher and Trustee at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, she is married to Stanley Harris, Vice President of PNC Bank. Their son, Wade Thomas Harris, his wife and their sons reside in New Jersey.
Dr. Harris Announces Her Retirement Effective July 1, 2013
Dr. Harris' Bio - Printable version
Superintendent's Honors and Recognition Program
Celebrating our Community Champions, 200 Columbus - The Bicentennial
Amid challenges, Superintendent Gene Harris perseveres as she leads Ohio's largest district toward higher standards - Columbus Dispatch (Jan. 2, 2012) - This newspaper article highlights Dr. Harris' ten years as Superintendent of Columbus City Schools.