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Parkwood Middle SRO Stephanie Harms chosen 2015 SRO of Year

Union County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis recognizes Sheriff’s Deputy Stephanie Harms (Parkwood Middle) for being chosen the 2015 SRO of the Year. (Below) The six nominees for SRO of the year are, from left, Deputy Joseph Whitley (Sun Valley High); Monroe Police Officer Paul Perrette (Monroe High School); Deputy David Ludlow (Piedmont High School); Officer Vivian Caldwell, (Elementary Schools in Monroe); and Deputy Stephanie Harms (Parkwood Middle). UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis, center, is also pictured. Deputy Crista Wallace (UCPS K-9 services) is not pictured.

Parkwood Middle School Resource Officer Stephanie Harms has been chosen as the 2015 SRO of the Year.

The announcement was made Monday (April 13, 2015) during a ceremony held at the UCPS Professional Development Center in Monroe. Harms is a deputy with the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

“I was honored just to be nominated, much less be chosen as the 2015 SRO of the Year,” she said. “I want to thank my supervisors. They’re the best in the county. Without them, I would not be where I am now. They encourage me all the time. They lift me up all time.”  

She also thanked the Parkwood Middle staff. “I would put them up against any other school staff in the county. The principal and I have built a relationship to help one another. It’s not about what I want to do or what he wants to do, it’s about what’s best for the school.”

The SRO of the Year is based on points accumulated through a credentialing process and interviews, involving two different panels of judges.

Harms and five other SROs were nominated by their departments for the award.

The six nominees were Harms; Officer Vivian Caldwell, (Elementary Schools in Monroe); Deputy David Ludlow (Piedmont High School); Monroe Police Officer Paul Perrette (Monroe High School); Deputy Crista Wallace (UCPS K-9 services) and Deputy Joseph Whitley (Sun Valley High).

The five were then narrowed to the top three based on a points system. Those were Harms, Ludlow and Caldwell.

UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis thanked all the SROs in the room for their work in keeping UCPS staff and students safe.

“For the hours, thank you. For the actions, thank you. For the heart, thank you,” Ellis said. “Thank you for getting up every day and going back to your schools and being someone for whom children can depend, because a lot of our children have no adults for whom they can depend.”

Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said he is thankful for the excellent working relationship the school system has with area law enforcement.

“We live in a special county,” Cathey said. “We have a good superintendent. These officers are great. Our county’s great. Our school system is great. I’m very proud of it. As I travel the state, other agencies are proud of our agency and of our school system and our relationship with our school system. They don’t have that anywhere in this region.”

Cathey said SROs have a long-reaching impact on the youth. “I can’t tell you how many kids come up to me and ask about the school resource officer that has left their school. They keep up with them. They build a relationship with them. When the officer moves or the student graduates, they have a relationship that they fall back on in hard times in their lives.”

Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard said he is also proud of his SROs.

“I know what you do on a daily basis and the impact that you have on children," Gilliard said. "Every child needs to be protected so his voice can be heard.”

Officer Harms will now compete for the North Carolina School Resource Officer of the Year title, to be chosen this summer.


Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Apr 17, 2015 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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