JUSTICE — For close to 40 years, Superintendent William Harrison has put in 12-hour workdays Monday through Thursday.
“I like to take off around 4:30 (p.m.) on Friday,” said Harrison, 62.
Harrison says he gets to work about 6:15 a.m. because that's when he gets most of his work done. However, Harrison has encouraged some parents to drop their children off at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. so they can commute to their jobs.
Harrison graduated from East Central University in 1973 and started his teaching career at Justice. He taught third- and fourth-grade students for half a day, and remedial reading and math the rest. In 1975, he became the superintendent.
He has been a father figure to countless students and the parents trust him implicitly. Carol, his wife, runs the school's after-school and lunch programs.
Harrison, who had coached most all sport activities, said he has “always enjoyed teaching and playing with the kids.”
The many hats he has worn include superintendent, principal, bus driver and counselor. He also has been known to answer the phone when his staff is unavailable.
“I have also been the cook,” Harrison said. “When you are in a small school, you do everything.”
Harrison said he doesn't leave the school grounds until all three buses return from their routes.
“I feel the kids are mine,” he said. “I worry about them getting home. If they miss the bus in the morning, I will go pick them up. After all, if I (have to) be here, so do they.”
The Justice School District is in Seminole County, serving 172 students in a 16-square-mile area.
The farming community offers prekindergarten through eighth grade and a 3-year-old Head Start program.
Most of the students attend high school in Wewoka after their years at Justice.
“I am on my third generation of students,” Harrison said. “I have raised my children and grandchildren here.”
Harrison said that when he walks down the hall, the children come up to him and hug him.
“You can't have a bad day after getting a hug,” Harrison said.
Technology has been the biggest change in the school through the years, he said.
“Over the years, parenting has changed and we have older parents taking care of grandchildren,” Harrison said. “They don't have the energy to attend all the activities, but they are filling a need.”
“Grandparents are necessities,” Harrison said.
The saddest part of Harrison's tenure is attending funerals of students. He has been a pallbearer, honorary pallbearer and given eulogies.
At the end of the school term, Harrison said, he plans to retire.
“I don't know what my plans are just yet,” Harrison said.
The Harrisons have two adult children and five grandchildren.
When you are in a small school, you do everything.”
On his many duties as Superintendent