J. J. Harris Elementary School

J. J. Harris Elementary School

Principal: Dr. Xernona Thomas

Assistant Principal: Dr. Beverly Harper

PDSD Activities

Faculty Support

Professor-in-Residence Dr. Bob Capuozzo in the department of educational theory and practice, works closely with the administrators, including Instructional Coach Melissa Ellard, to develop professional learning activities. He also supervises student teachers each semester and works with school administrators to align the supervision of student teachers with coaching efforts. Capuozzo also participates in instructional leadership team meetings.

Multiple times a week, Dr. Capuozzo visits classrooms at J.J. Harris. During these visits, he leads the 4 and 5-year olds in movement and music activities.  He also read the students books with a growth mindset theme. He incorporates the JJH Essentials as well as the JJH House Characteristics into group discussions. Some of the students from the Integrated Arts class complete a practicum in Pre-K classrooms at JJH.  Dr. Capuozzo often co-teaches these music and movement experiences with the teacher candidates. Additionally, he serves as a resource and mentor for the Pre-K classroom teachers.

The UGA Women’s Soccer Team visited J. J. Harris as part of the “Reading is a Kick” family event organized by Professor-in-Residence Dr. Bob Capuozzo. (September 24, 2015) Click here for a short video of this event.

Click here to read a profile on Bob Capuozzo in the Spring 2016 Office of School Engagement newsletter.

Student Involvement

Approximately 25 UGA students spend two days per week in the school for their field placement, and approximately 20 students do their student teaching at the school each semester.




PIR Dr. Bob Capuozzo and Kindergarten teacher Brittany Herron are conducting a study entitled “Focused Play Experiences and Expressive and Receptive Language Development.”  This study investigates how classroom teachers within a professional development school district utilized inquiry as a means to include more play-based activities in elementary classrooms. The study has its origins in a graduate level course on Play which was paired with a four-week summer camp for elementary students. In this course and accompanying practicum, graduate students, many of whom were classroom teachers, worked with K-2 students to explore and experiment with different play pedagogies. The paper shares studies from classroom teachers that took up the charge of implementing these pedagogies to illustrate how a PDS might confront current issues and trends and advocate for public education by using inquiry to reconceptualize the role of play in the elementary school classroom.

Dr. Jori Hall in the department of lifelong learning, administration, and policy conducted a study at J. J. Harris Elementary and Fowler Drive Elementary, examining how various stakeholder groups (i.e., district/school administrators, teachers, students, UGA faculty and community members) advance Professional Development School (PDS) goals, such as improvement of teacher preparation and collaborative teaching/learning.

Mentor Teachers

Monica Austin

Stephanie Bowen

Joan Parker

Brittany Herron
Kindergarten Teacher

April Smith
Kindergarten Teacher

Lindsey Arinze
1st Grade Teacher

Annie Birdsong
1st Grade Teacher

Traci Miller
1st Grade Teacher

Lysa Sullivan
1st Grade Teacher

Sarah Heath
2nd Grade Teacher

Jaime Clark
3rd Grade Teacher

Alon Hammond
4th Grade Teacher

Megan Nasrallah
4th Grade Teacher

Russ Warden
Physical Education


UGA Teacher Candidate Supervisors

Dr. Bob Capuozzo
Department of Educational Theory and Practice

Kaitlin Wegrzyn
Department of Educational Theory and Practice