Agenda Item
Meeting Date: 2/22/2018 - 6:30 PM
Category: Awards and Commendations
Type: Info
Subject: 1. Excellence in Education Award - Robert Harris, Jr. (Posthumous)
Strategic Plan Compatibility Statement:
Goal 2
Student, Family and Community Engagement
Policy: Admin Policy 1.05 - Recognition for Accomplishment
File Attachment:
Background: Each month, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors recognizes an outstanding school, student, staff member, parent, or community member for a display of excellence, achievement, and innovation that may serve as an example to our school district and the entire Milwaukee community.

This month, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors is pleased to posthumously present the “Excellence in Education Award” to:

Robert Harris, Jr.

Robert Harris Jr., who died January 8, 2018 at 90, was part of a pioneering generation of African-American educators in Milwaukee Public Schools during the tumultuous mid-20th century.

In addition to teaching science, math, and history, he coached football at North Division High School. He also was the first African-American high school basketball referee in Wisconsin.

Mr. Harris moved up through the academic ranks to principal and college professor, always mindful of what kids needed to succeed. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees at UWM, followed by a Ford Fellowship doctoral program at UW-Madison.

He also taught at UWM as an assistant professor after working for MPS, and maintained a lifelong relationship with his alma mater, including serving on the UWM Board of Visitors.

He served with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee for more than 35 years. The gymnasium at the Mary Ryan branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park bears his name, honoring his tenacious fundraising to get the branch built.

Robert was board chair and director of the Milwaukee Police Athletic League, associate director of the Herb Kohl Milwaukee Youth Foundation and supervisor of the MPS Recreation and Community Education Division, just to name a few other roles.

His many honors included the William C. Frye Award from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, given for outstanding volunteer work for the betterment of the community, and the YMCA Men's Club award for contributions to the community and Wisconsin's youth.

One of his legacies that will continue to give back indefinitely is the African American Alumni Chapter Scholarship Award at UWM, which he started.

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors recognize and honor Robert Harris, Jr., posthumously for his dedication, outstanding leadership, and commitment to excellence on behalf of the community and students of the Milwaukee Public Schools.
Fiscal Impact Statement:
Implementation and Assessment Plan
Recommended By:
Signed By:
Dr. Darienne Driver - Superintendent