Principal’s Welcome Message:
Welcome to Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School, home of the Colts, a NASA Explorer School, and GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). The primary mission of the faculty and staff at Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School is to create and sustain a climate in which active learning can occur for all students. With the rigorous standards-based academic program and variety of course offerings, along with the dedicated, talented, and student-centered staff, students are empowered to think critically, make responsible sound choices, and become life-long learners. A core principle of Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School's vision is for all students to graduate from college and become productive leaders in a global society. Students are immersed in a college-going culture and greeted daily as "Future College Graduates." Our motto is Challenging Opportunities Lead Toward Success. Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School strives to be the best place to teach, learn, and achieve.
I hope you will enjoy visiting our website. There is insightful information about our future college graduates, faculty, staff and exemplary academic and extra-curricular programs.
Mrs. Felicia A. Bessent, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is a 1975 graduate of University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and a minor in music therapy. She also has a Master of Arts in special education from California State University, Sacramento, and a professional administrative service credential from LaVerne University, LaVerne, California. Furthering graduate studies, she attended University of Virginia, University of Hawaii, Harvard Graduate School of Education Principals’ Center, and University of California, Davis.
Mrs. Bessent began her teaching career as a high school choral music teacher in 1975. While moving with her active duty military husband, Mrs. Bessent expanded her teaching career to become a special education teacher. She taught mathematics, algebra, life science, and physical science to elementary, middle and high school students with learning disabilities in Georgia, Virginia, Hawaii, Arizona, and California.
In 1991, Mrs. Bessent was named Teacher of the Year for Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento County, and a finalist for the state of California. Other awards and recognitions have included California State University, Sacramento, 1991 Distinguished Service Award; Milken Family Foundation’s 1991 National Educator Award; listed in Outstanding Young Women of America, 1981 and 1986 editions; Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 1994 edition; 2004 Distinguished Educator's Award for outstanding leadership by the Sacramento Observer Media Group; 2007 Principal of the Year nominee for the Sacramento Hub Choice Award; and one of Sacramento Kings’ 2011 All-Stars Leaders.
Mrs. Bessent has been in Elk Grove Unified School District since 1987 as a choral music teacher, special education resource specialist program teacher, vice principal, and principal. She became a high school vice principal in 1993 and received her first middle school principal assignment in 1997. She has been the principal of Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School since 2002.
In addition to being a principal, Mrs. Bessent is active in the community and affiliated with various educational organizations. She is a member of Association of California School Administrators (ASCA), California League of Middle Schools (CLMS); Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; children’s choir director at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Sacramento, CA, and former adjunct professor at San Francisco State University. During the summer, Mrs. Bessent is a lesson design instructor for NASA’s Pre-Service Teacher Institute. Mrs. Bessent has been married for thirty-five years and has two adult children.
Mrs. Bessent believes that every student can be successful when learning complements a student’s primary learning style and is interactive, rigorous, and relevant to real-world application. She is a proponent of inquiry-based learning and its effectiveness in student engagement through teaching and learning. In her role as principal, Mrs. Bessent addresses all students as future college graduates while instilling high expectations with personal and cultural pride. She highly encourages teachers to teach all students to their greatest potential.
Mrs. Bessent has five mottos –
- It’s better to discipline in the playpen than at the state pen.
- The rules don’t change, just the days of the week.
- Bend toward the oar, though the tide is against you.
- Dress for success at all times.
- Always strive to be at the top because the bottom is already overcrowded.