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TASA’s “Inspiring Leaders” tagline is not just a reminder of TASA’s commitment to leadership development; it describes our members themselves — school leaders who inspire others as they work to prepare future-ready students. Meet Rickie Harris, one of those Inspiring Leaders.

Now in his seventh year as superintendent of West Orange-Cove Consolidated ISD, Dr. Rickie Harris has been a public school educator for more than two decades. He leads the East Texas district of about 2,500 students with a goal of using the educational system to not only transform the lives of students, but to benefit entire family systems and boost the community.

Harris says he is exceptionally proud of the way WOCCISD aims to educate the whole child by striving to make sure students’ needs are met both in the classroom and at home.

“Our school board is passionate about removing any barriers that will hinder our children from being successful,” Harris says. “We do whatever it takes to expose our students to the positive things that they normally would not be exposed to. We serve a student population that is 90% economically disadvantaged, but when they are under our care they lack for nothing.”

The dedication Harris shows serves to encourage and inspire others, and his colleagues notice and admire his efforts.

“Dr. Harris is an inspiring leader because he never hesitates to help others,” says Amy Reyna, superintendent in Milford ISD. “Despite day-to-day issues, he is always quick to remind others about the importance of keeping a main goal in sight, and to provide reflection on how we as leaders can maintain our vision for moving forward. Dr. Harris is a leader-learner and never stops growing himself in order to help grow others.”

Mentoring others is an important part of leadership for Harris, who says that because Texas public school administrators come from so many diverse backgrounds, being open with others can only help the profession grow as a whole.

“It can be lonely as an administrator. There are so many things that you are responsible for, and most of it you can’t share with those within your organization. It’s great to have someone outside of the organization that you can bounce ideas off of, and get guidance on how to handle different situations. Honestly, sometimes you just need to know if you’re going in the right direction.”