Derrick Harris

Derrick P. Harris

Bell Elementary School
Wayne County School District
Monticello, Kentucky

Derrick P. Harris has served as a principal since 2006 and has led Bell Elementary in that capacity since 2013. Harris has focused on implementing best practices that increase student performance and learning, such as a differentiated literacy program that ensures each child’s true instructional needs are being met. This highly successful program has resulted in 85 percent of students now reading at grade level, compared to barely 50 percent reading at grade level when he first became principal. Harris has also focused on creating a welcoming and community-centered environment for students and staff. He was instrumental in implementing Bell Elementary’s unique Officer Friend initiative as part of Bell’s School Safety Program. Through this initiative, a local law enforcement officer “adopts” a classroom and spends time visiting with students, helping with homework, or just eating lunch together. Students feel safe, motivated and connected to their community through this program. Harris believes that a true leader does not create followers but instead  inspires more leaders, and he has created a culture at Bell where staff are encouraged to live up to this vision as they continuously develop their skills. Harris is described as a compassionate, student-centered leader who always has time to listen to students, staff, and parents alike. He holds a Bachelor’s from Eastern Kentucky University and has received Instructional Leadership certificates from Union College.