An interview with Dr. Alan Harris, IMAGO’s new Head of Education
Monty: Hi Dr. Harris. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Dr. Harris: Thanks Monty. I am a Fresno California native, husband, father, dog dad, brother, son, teacher, yogi, runner, climber, advocate for hope and believer in individual and collective human potential.
Monty: Tell us about your professional background.
Dr. Harris: I have been a teacher and administrator in public education K-12. In addition to working in California and Wisconsin, I have served in urban, rural and suburban districts ranging from 1200 to 40,000 students. Most recently I was Superintendent of the Sierra Unified School District where we worked with a team to create a whole school therapeutic milieu, implement social emotional learning district wide and developed social emotional learning supports for families in response to the impact of the 2020 Creek Fire that displaced 80% of the community and 20% lost their homes.
Monty: Why did you choose to work for IMAGO?
Dr. Harris: Great question, Monty. At IMAGO, we build better people, or rather we empower people to build the very best versions of themselves. Across the globe and most significantly education we need to teach and learn how to be our best as humans, personally, professionally and globally aware with decision making, self management, and relationship skills to find professional aptitude and personal wellness. Now more than ever these are interdependent. My years in education and particularly the last five I have looked, listened and tried to meaningfully learn about this need. IMAGO provides a response to this need.
For the past 10 years, IMAGO has been working to build educational methodologies and strategies that support emotional social learning. Our goal is to help (students) people get jobs, keep jobs, and be healthy in their jobs.
Monty: What do you hope to accomplish at IMAGO?
Dr. Harris: I want to work with our team to meaningfully improve the lives and learning of teachers and students. That is where the magic happens. For the last 20 years, teachers and many leaders have felt one thing after another has been “piled on” their list of responsibilities. I hope to help those interested view social emotional learning and wellness as a tool, much of which they already do or know how to do, to improve student capacity. This is an opportunity to get back to educating the whole child, the whole adolescent, the whole adult; and IMAGO is a partner.
Monty: Who inspires you?
Dr. Harris: John Lewis, Billy Mills, Margaret Wheatley, my father, and countless students have also inspired me. John Lewis as a pilot light for civil rights and social justice. Billy Mills as an athlete and advocate for Indigenous youth. Margaret Wheatley as a leadership theorist building better communities. My father as model of service, love for scholars and learning. The students I have met who persevere, learn, fail, challenge, cry, cheer, celebrate, and achieve inspire me to always believe in the power of the human spirit.
Monty: What is one thing that you want everyone to know about you?
Dr. Harris: I am an educator on the “How Many Wins Today” team, and I use Duck Tape, and Sharpies to teach and to learn.
To learn more about IMAGO’s Social Emotional Learning platform, visit our website.