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Parkway Principal Harris Announces Retirement

Nicole Harris Parkway Elementary School Principal Nicole Harris has announced her retirement at the conclusion of this school year.  The Board of Education accepted her retirement, with regrets and well wishes, at their December meeting.

Since becoming principal in 2007, Harris has shaped the close-knit, special culture that characterizes the Parkway School.

Always visible, accessible and highly involved in her school, the sight of the student-centered Harris welcoming students in the morning has been a constant at the Parkway School for the past thirteen years.

“It was a very difficult decision for me, but it felt like the time was right,” Harris stated. “I have enjoyed my time at Parkway tremendously and have many wonderful memories of students, teachers and families that I will treasure forever.”

For Harris, it was a particularly emotional decision as Parkway has meant as much to her as she has to the school community.

"Ewing Township Schools has been my educational home since 1998.  In that time I have seen and been a part of many great changes and programs that the schools have undertaken,” she stated.  “I have been blessed and humbled to be a part of the successful journey of many Ewing Township students and a mentor to many of its hard-working teachers."

Harris began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Highland Park School district in 1993, and assumed her first administrative job as an assistant principal at Cambridge Elementary School in 1997. Harris joined the Ewing Schools as an Assistant Principal at Antheil Elementary School in 1998 before being promoted to Parkway School Principal in 2007.

Harris earned her Bachelors of Arts in English and Communications and Masters in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Rutgers University.  

Harris’ time with the school district was marked by many accomplishments and contributions to the Ewing School Community.  While at Antheil Elementary School in 2003, she helped design a Best Practice award-winning program in the area of Safe Learning Environment for innovative physical educational programming.  During her time at Parkway, two of the school’s Odyssey of the Minds teams qualified for the World Championships, the school received a Promising Practice Award for its partnership with TASK from Character.org and their innovative Courtyard Garden was recognized by The National Wildlife Preservation as a Certified Schoolyard Habitat Site. 

Harris was also a member of the first school leadership team to develop and implement PBIS in a Ewing Township School, she worked with her Positive Education-trained teachers to develop and implement mindfulness programming and expanded schoolwide Title 1 programs to include themed family nights, parent/child book clubs, math clubs, instrumental and vocal music clubs, EHS student mentoring, Board Games, Social Skills, Environmental STEM club, Homework Club, Family Yoga and 'Tween Clubs.

“With her leadership, Nicole has created a sense of family, not only among the staff at Parkway, but within our school and our surrounding community,” Parkway teacher Josephine Stevens stated. “She has always been present and available at school, to her staff, the students, and our community.  You could easily count on seeing her at a school event or wiping down tables during lunch duty.  No task was ever too small or too big for Mrs. Harris.  We follow her lead, and she is the reason why Parkway is “the place to be”!”

“Our Parkway family has been blessed to have Principal Harris at the helm for the past 14 years,” fellow teacher Debra Klevze-Cornelius added. “Her leadership has made us all stronger and she will be dearly missed when she retires.”

The school district will begin the search for Principal Harris’s successor immediately.  A posting will be developed and disseminated widely.  A district email has been established, pesprincipalsearch@ewingboe.org for any school community member to share thoughts or ideas related to the principal vacancy and search.  A committee of stakeholders with relevance and expertise will be a part of the screening process, as the district seeks to hire an outstanding school leader to be the next principal of Parkway Elementary School.

“We are deeply appreciative of Principal Harris’ leadership and all that she has done for the school community as she moves toward what hopefully will be a wonderful retirement,” Superintendent Michael Nitti stated.  “It is well-deserved, as she has left behind a legacy of students who have benefited from her work.”