Sharon Bradley and Dr. Jennifer Morrow are used to wading into new waters.
One switched careers from the newsroom to the classroom, while the other accepted leadership of a campus still in the concept stage.
But their mutual passion for embracing challenges to create the best learning environment makes Bradley and Morrow deserving winners of Pearland Independent School District’s 2015 Elementary and Secondary Principal of the Year Awards.
The Jamison Middle School and Turner College and Career High School principals received the awards May 1 during the district’s annual service awards celebration.
Sharon Bradley, Jamison Middle School
In her career as an educator, Bradley has worked at all grade levels, teaching at both junior high and elementary schools and serving as a junior high assistant principal before coming to Pearland ISD.
After a brief stint at what is now the Alternative Learning Academy, Bradley took the position as Jamison principal 10 years ago.
Despite her broad experience in education and even a superintendent’s certificate, Bradley did not start with the intent to work in public schools. In fact, she originally pursued journalism, but while interviewing for news outlets, she spent time substitute teaching.
Seeing her skill in the classroom, the superintendent offered her a job on the spot teaching sixth-grade reading and English and seventh-grade Spanish.
“It was the most fulfilling time of my life. Not only did I enjoy it, but by my second year of teaching, I began taking graduate coursework to pursue another degree and certification as an administrator,” she said.
Bradley’s role as principal constantly changes. When she arrived at Jamison 10 years ago, she served more as a leader and change agent. Today, she sees herself as a facilitator, with her expert staff running a “well-oiled machine.”
Ultimately, her goal is to prepare students to compete on a global level by engaging them in unique experiences — from leadership and community service clubs to special speakers and authors.
In 2015-16, she plans to introduce a techno café, a glassed-in area equipped with Wi-Fi, where students can engage in academic programs on provided iPads during breakfast and lunch.
While days can be long and stressful, Bradley ultimately finds her purpose in the people who surround her.
“There are so many things I enjoy about this profession, but in the end, the people I work with make this job such a joy. From staff to students to parents, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with each one of them,” she said.
Dr. Jennifer Morrow, Turner College and Career High School
In fall 2012, Morrow was named principal of TCCHS, Pearland ISD’s future school of choice that would merge the concept of early college credit with career and technical education programs and industry internships and practicums.
She assisted with planning all areas of the school — from career pathways, certifications and laboratories to logos, community information nights and more.
Under Morrow’s leadership, TCCHS has already witnessed several major achievements.
In only its first year, TCCHS celebrated seven students graduating with their associate’s degree and more than 250 earning career certifications. In its second year, the school boasts 33 students with associate degrees and potentially 435 career certifications.
Morrow’s goal is to have every TCCHS student graduate with college and/or career placements already in hand — and to succeed in those endeavors.
“My role is to serve others and help maintain a focus on a productive, hopeful educational vision for teachers and students to succeed. The staff, students and parents at Turner are a great success individually and as a group,” she said.
Morrow holds more than two decades of experience in education, having served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, associate principal and dean of instruction. Before coming to Pearland ISD, she served as the principal of Clear Creek ISD’s Clear Horizons early College High School.
Raised by hard-working, service-minded educator parents, Morrow upholds a strong work ethic for herself, students and staff.
“My favorite quote on the Turner walls is from a student,” Morrow said. “During her initial academic conference before we opened, she said she wanted to be a Turner student because ‘Everyone here is on a mission, and everybody here is going to work really, really hard.’ I think that says it all.”