The music man of Poolesville retired from his thirty-nine-year teaching career which began in 1975 at Poolesville Elementary School. While music has been his primary vocation, he has also had a passion for travel and tourism, so he plans to be a tour guide in Washington and to lead tours to New York City. He also plans to do some substituting at PES occasionally just to keep in touch.
Harris, a native Washingtonian who lives in Germantown, inherited his grandfather’s legacy as a singer. He had his first singing solo at age nine when he sang in his church’s children’s choir. He loved to entertain the students and will be long remembered for his robust joy of music and for his lively personality that was the hallmark of his educational style. His surprise performances at school halloween parades were always big hits and were awaited with great anticipation by children and parents anxious to see what costume or character he would be. One year, he dressed as the fat lady of the opera and sang from the roof of the school. Another time he dressed as Father Time.
Mr. Harris loved to teach all types of music. He felt it important to teach the multicultural aspects of music, and he loved to teach patriotic songs such as “The Star Spangled Banner,” blending his lessons with the history behind the music. Always one of the very most popular teachers at PES, he was selected by the 1991 PHS graduating class as its commencement speaker where he spoke of the importantce of faith and friendship.
At a retirement party held at the House of Poolesville on June 13, he was given a special framed memento whereon each student in the school had written a comment of gratitude or best wishes to him in a small square.
Three other retiring PES staffmembers were also honored at the June 13 event:
Teachers Aileen Dunkleberger (sixteen years at PES) does not have any set plans yet and David Weisberg (twenty-seven years) will continue teaching in Atlanta, and custodial service worker Michael Tibbs (thirty-six years) jovially announced his only plan is to actually retire and relax.