Pleasant Grove High School journalism adviser Charla Harris was surprised by Journalism Education Association President Kelly Glasscock as well as longtime colleagues and family, to be awarded the H. L. Hall National High School Yearbook Adviser of the Year during the district's regular board meeting Tuesday.
"I'm a little speechless," Harris said. "Let me just say this is only possible due to the great students I've had during the past 33 years at Pleasant Grove High School, not only in yearbook but also in newspaper and television program. They are some of the best in the nation and this is a reflection of them. It's also a reflection of the people at Pleasant Grove, the board and all the teachers."
Harris has been the journalism adviser at Pleasant Grove High School since 1985.
She serves as a critique judge and convention speaker for high school and college yearbooks and newspapers from across the country for Columbia Press Association, Interscholastic League Press Conference and the National Scholastic Press Association. Her awards include the Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association, the Trailblazer Award from the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, the Max R. Haddick Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year Award and Edith Fox King Award from the Interscholastic League Press Conference.
Harris' yearbook and journalism staff is nationally recognized for their yearbook and newspaper publications regularly. In October, The Edge staff was named a Pacemaker finalist for the fifth time since 2011. And last month during the national convention in Chicago, they won their third Pacemaker, one of 28 newspapers in the nation to win the award in 2018.
"I love to observe the masterpiece of learning Ms. Harris creates in her classroom daily. She works tirelessly and consistently on a day to day basis to get her students to think and to think at high levels," Mendy Sharp, PG High School principal, stated in a press release. "In my twenty years as an educator, it is safe to say what Charla does with students in the classroom and in life puts her in an elite category of educators."
Harris will be honored at the NSPA/JEA awards luncheon on Saturday, April 27, in Anaheim, Calif. during the 2019 Spring National High School Journalism Convention.
In other business, the board of trustees approved an exchange agreement for a 4.35-acre tract owned by the district for 10 acres owned by Christus Ark-La-Tex Health.
The tract, at Galleria Oaks and Christus Drive, will be the site of a new elementary school. Funds for the school come from a $19.9 million bond voters approved in May for the new school, security improvements and technology upgrades.
During the executive session, trustees also approved a resolution to enter into a transfer and charitable gift agreement with CHRISTUS for the health system to donate a 1.4 acre tract of land adjacent to the new elementary site.
Trustees also held a public hearing on the annual Financial Integrity Rating system of Texas report. The district's Director of Business Derick Sibley said the district received a Superior rating, the highest rating possible. He said the rating reflects the quality of the financial management and reporting system of the district.
The board also heard the financial report from Sibley, who said they had collected $8 million, or 62 percent, of the district's $13 million tax levy.
Board President Fred Meisenheimer also said enrollment for November was2,161 with 96.3 percent attendance.
The next board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 22, 2019, at the Central Services on 8500 N. Kings. Hwy, Texarkana, Texas.