Anyone who knows Dr. Jamey Harrison knows he is one of a kind. He’s a go-getter. He gets the job done.

Harrison became the superintendent for Bridge City ISD and has diligently worked to serve this community since July 16, 2007. His leadership has been one of extraordinary accomplishment and community involvement and that leadership has earned him the highest honor that Bridge City can offer: Harrison has been named the 2010 Citizen of the year.

Each year since 1971, the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce had named a citizen of the year. Nominations are assessed on community involvement and the impact of contributions in the past year.

“We had several very worthy nominations for Citizen of the Year and all were taken into consideration,” said Mark Dunn, chairman for the 2010 Bridge CIty Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Committee. “When all things were considered, however, the vote was unanimous for Dr. Harrison.”

“It’s means a great deal [to me],” Harrison said. “It was actually a very moving moment for me when I was informed, especially given the timing of things and the announcement of my leaving the district after this year. These four years have been absolutely wonderful in this community. To be honored with such an award is such a moving moment for me.”

Chelle, Harrison’s wife, and their two boys, Jackson, 6, and Jett, 2 was very excited to hear the news too.

Harrison played a crucial part in the reconstruction of the Bridge City Schools that Hurricane Ike had destroyed on Sept 13, 2008.

“He was the right man at the right time for the right job. Thank goodness he was here when at the time he was,” said Gina Mannino, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for BCISD.

“He was determined to get Bridge City students back into our schools,” Dunn said. “He knew it was imperative for the survival of the city. Once school was reopened, students were bussed from wherever they were staying within a 20-30 mile range, with the help of other school districts.

“Hurricane Ike destroyed both Hatton and Elementary schools,” Dunn said. “Dr. Harrison worked diligently in the months after the storm to acquire the funding to build the new Bridge City Elementary school. The new school will be among the finest in the state and is scheduled for completion in May.”

Harrison was also instrumental in bringing the school district to the forefront of technology.

“The hurricane came and this guy just took over,” said Tom Orozco, president of the Bridge City School Board. “He made sure that we kept our students and he just stayed on top of everything.”

Enrollment at BCISD is now at it’s highest level since 2002. The quality of the Bridge City school district attracts families to move to Bridge City, which results in positive growth and is good for local commerce.

Last week, Harrison announced that he is going to be leaving BCISD to become the Deputy Director for the University Scholastic League (UIL) in Austin.

“This is such a wonderful place,” Harrison said. “It was a really grueling decision for my wife and I to make. It’s an opportunity that’s too good to pass up, but that doesn’t mean that it was very, very difficult to decide to take it. We have been so happy here. We love this town, we love the schools, we love neighbors. It’s just a special place. We’re going to miss it.”

Harrison explained that it was already going to be very difficult to leave Bridge City and BCISD, and winning this award only makes it harder.

“Bridge City is such a special place, a great community, great people, just a wonderful place,” Harrison said. “I hope that in some way, I leave behind decisions that will impact the district. I’ve been fortunate to be part of such a wonder administrative team. We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal. I hope that in some way, a little piece of Jamey Harrison stays in Bridge City and will make a positive difference long after I’m gone.”

Dunn explained that “in his four year tenure Dr. Harrison has made a lasting impact on the community. His contributions are now part of our local history and will contribute to it’s growth for many years to come.”

“We’re all really disappointed, but we’re all really happy for him,” Orozco said. “We’re happy he’s moving up. We’re happy for him, but it’s going to be really hard to replace him. You don’t find guys like that everyday.”

“Naming Dr. Harrison as Citizen of the Year is the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce’s way of saying, ‘Thank you,'” Dunn said.

Harrison plans to finish out the school year to make sure everything is ready for the first day of school next year.

Harrison graduated from Hardin-Jefferson ISD, received his bachelors and masters degrees from Lamar Beaumont and received his doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin. He has worked for the Buna, Lumberton and Hardin-Jefferson school districts prior to working for BCISD.

He will be presented with the 2010 Citizen of Year award at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 17 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event will cost $20 and maybe purchased at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, located at 150 W. Roundbunch; COS Printing, located at 1600 Texas Ave; or at Bridge City Bank, located at 701 W. Roundbunch.

For more information, contact Chamber Director Angela Beck at 409-735-5671.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers