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New Deputy Director Brings Energy, Ideas to UIL

By Julianne Coyne, Intern | Friday, August 12, 2011 1:12 PM

Dr. Jamey Harrison drapes medals on the Lindsay Varsity Softball team at the UIL State Tournament. Lindsay was a semifinalist in 2011. Photo by Jeanne Acton

The new UIL Deputy Director, Dr. Jamey Harrison, has a long history of being involved with League activities.

“I’ve always had a strong connection with the UIL,” Dr. Harrison said. “I’ve served on the Legislative Council when I was a superintendent. When I was a student, I participated in all three types of UIL events, athletics, academics and music. It led to my career choice to teach and coach at the beginning of my career.”

While attending Hardin-Jefferson High School, Dr. Harrison competed for and won a state title in basketball.

“My best memory of UIL competition was the opportunity I had to win the state basketball championship at the Frank Erwin Center,” Dr. Harrison said. “The teammates I was able to share that experience with are still some of my best friends to this day.”

Dr. Harrison is responsible for all UIL non-competitive departments (like finance and technology), and he also oversees policy decisions. He said he has no immediate plans to make major changes at the League.

“We’ve been a strong organization for 101 years, so I’m not going to try to change the world right away,” Dr. Harrison said. “I love that we’re a grassroots-based organization. This is the schools’ organization.”

Prior to becoming the deputy director, Dr. Harrison was the superintendent of Bridge City ISD for four years. For the past 14 years, Harrison has served Texas students in public education through various roles including teacher, principal and deputy superintendent.

“One of my jobs here will be to continue to provide the superintendent perspective when we make decisions, especially when it comes to costs for events,” he said.

And the superintendents are facing tough challenges this year since many school budgets were cut because of the state financial situation. Dr. Harrison said his “heart goes out” to superintendents who are facing those smaller budgets.

“Trying to make better districts and schools with less and less money is not an easy task,” he said.

Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said the League is fortunate to have someone of Dr. Harrison’s background to serve as deputy director.

“Dr. Harrison has great energy and ideas, but he also has a lot of experience with how our organization is run,” he said. “He knows who makes the rules: our school superintendents.”

Dr. Harrison has two sons, Jackson, 6, and Jett, 3, with his wife of more than 10 years, Chelle, who was a teacher before moving to Austin but is currently a full-time mother.

“We’re an educator family,” he said.