SUU to Everywhere

Gail Harris (’74 and ’98)

Gail Harris (’74 and ’98)
SUU to Educator

Originally published on June 01, 2023.

Advocate, friend, and mentor to leagues of students throughout her 27-year career at Utah’s Parowan High School, Gail Harris was presented with the 2023 Carmen Rose Hepworth Alumni Award at the annual Thunderbird Awards Ceremony.

A 1974 graduate in English, who later earned a master of education degree in 1998, Gail says she found a home here at SUU because individuality and relationships were celebrated, and she greatly benefited from professors who encouraged students to explore—and excel in—their chosen fields.

Following a five-year stint at Richfield High School and “some substituting” in San Diego, Gail was thankful to find her professional home in the Iron County School District where she says administrators diligently provided the support she needed to excel as an educator.

She became an avid catalyst for an integrated English-Social Science curriculum at Parowan High that gave students a broad-based understanding of human behavior, as well as of the social and cultural intricacies of the world around them.

Gail says it was her job to ensure, “every student who left was prepared to write and think,” and she added citizenship to her classroom instruction as well, teaching that if people do not contribute through volunteerism, their communities cannot be healthy and thrive. She pushed her students to become better as individuals and then become better contributors to their community.

She effectively used a wide range of literature to help her students discover new ways of living, and consequently new doors of understanding opened, helping her pupils work through life’s challenges.

Those works also helped Gail’s students learn about themselves and how to develop meaningful and positive relationships.

Gail retired in 2012, and today enjoys the quiet life of Parowan with her husband Jim, their seven children and 20 grandchildren.