James E. Harris is the third of nine children born to Wilmon and Marie Harris in Castalia. The family worked as sharecroppers until the mid-sixties, when they moved to Perth Amboy, New Jersey and then to Newark, New Jersey.
James graduated from South Side High School, now Malcolm X. Shabazz High School in Newark. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies with a New Jersey Secondary School Certification from Montclair State College, now Montclair State University. He holds two Master of Arts Degrees (one in Personnel Service and the other in Public Administration). He is a retired Major from the New Jersey National Guard.
Mr. Harris currently holds the position of Associate Dean of Students and University Ombudsman at Montclair State University, where he supervises various student activities. His responsibilities include all phases of Advocacy for Students and oversight of the Brotherhood, a program to encourage success of students, especially male students of African and Latino ancestry. For over thirty-five years, James Harris has been an active member of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, serving conscientiously on the Trustee Board, and in the service of the Lord.
He is the immediate past President of the Montclair Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), President of the State Conferences of NAACP Branches. He has received many Community Service Awards as President of the Montclair Branch of NAACP. He has testified before the State Legislature for policies to improve the quality of life for people. He has appeared on Television and Radio, and is a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences. Numerous awards have been bestowed on Mr. Harris, some of which include the New Jersey Association of Black Educators; New Jersey Black United Fund; New Jersey Alliance of Black Educators and he has been cited several times in Who’s Who among American Educators.
James and his family were selected as the “Jerseyans of the Week” by the Newark Star Ledger in 1992 because of roles as Co-Chairpersons of the Education Program for the New Jersey Black United Fund-Black History Month Appeal. The Montclair NAACP awarded him the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Community Leadership Award, National Associations of University Women Community Service Award, and The Thursgood Marshall Award and Administration of the year Award by the organization for African Unity at Montclair State University. James Harris is the proud husband of Justine, his best friend and supporter. As evidence of James’ and Justine’s commitment to higher education, they are the proud parents of two daughters, Kasheena and Jamillah, both of whom are college graduates.
James E. Harris