Hartley couple dedicates a combined 86 years to teaching

VIDEO: Hartley couple dedicates a combined 86 years to teaching

HARTLEY, Texas (KFDA) - After decades as teachers, a couple from Hartley who have dedicated their lives to their students, finally decided to retire.

“For most people in this community, they associate our music program with John Harris,” said Hartley ISD Superintendent Scott Vincent. “John has been here for 24 years.”

He may have spent 24 years at Hartley ISD, but John Harris has been an educator for a total of 55 years, teaching at nine different schools.

The Dalhart native started the music program at Hartley, and his investment in the school and community was prominent.

“He’s more than a music teacher,” said the principal at Hartley ISD Kurt Koepke. “He’s the guy who covers our breakfast duty in the morning, every morning. Every morning, almost all of our kids, especially the little ones, see him, they’re singing. It’s really an incredible relationship that he builds with kids. If you’ve ever been to a basketball game in Hartley, he’s been the one taking money for years. He’s the one who greets everybody, talks to them. It’s just a great representative of this school and this community.”

In fact, school even plays a role in he and his wife Jackie’s love story.

“He taught my mom 55 years ago,” said John and Jackie’s son, Jade Harris. “His first job was in Lefors, Texas, and my mom was a junior in high school. Of course, they didn’t date until years later, but it’s one thing I like to say, is he taught her 55 years ago.”

With a combined 86 years teaching, the couple has finally decided to retire, and the school staff decided to celebrate them.

Jackie and John said the reason they do it, is for the kids.

“In today’s society, I think kids needs teachers to help them with all the things they’re going through, besides their mother and dad,” said John. “That’s what we like to do.”

Jackie said they were brought to Hartley for a reason, and the community has helped get them through some of the hardest times of their lives.

“They take care of you, and you feel like you’re home all the time. Always have,” she said.

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