Moore Teacher Write-Ups: Christina Harrison

Christina Harrison wasn’t necessarily looking for one, but a new career found her.

The mother of three had room in her schedule as her kids became more independent. When an opportunity to be a substitute teacher at Carthage Elementary came her way, she was ready — if only for the time being — to give it a try.

“It kind of fell in my lap,” Christina said. “I went back to school because I felt bored. I started as a substitute. The story continues from there.”

It’s a story that’s now lasted seven years. In that time, Christina has risen from being a sub to becoming a full-time exceptional children’s teacher for one of Carthage’s two classrooms for students with cognitive issues.

She gains invaluable insight from the children she instructs. Their determination to battle through adversity is something she makes a point to discuss at home.

“My first inspiration is to show my own kids you can move forward from anywhere or anything,” Christina said.

Working with one particular student, Ellie Jean Clothier, has substantially impacted Christina.

“Watching her fight for everything she can do, she inspires me to keep going,” Christina said. “She’s an amazing little girl.”

Dedication, when helping learners, is a must. Already the owner of a master’s in special education from Western Carolina University, Christina is currently pursuing a second graduate degree from UNC Pembroke.

“We are all strong advocates for students we work with,” Christina, who was born in Alabama, said. “We all have a deep belief in them. They’re often discounted.”

The approach at Carthage is designed to overcome that reality.

“Carthage is a very inclusive environment,” Christina said. “Everybody knows who they (her students) are. Both classrooms are integrated with the other students as much as possible.”

According to Christina, Carthage Elementary has about 350 students. At the time of the interview, she had seven kids, with a wide range of disabilities, in her K-5 class.

The best part of working with the youngsters, for Christina, is witnessing their progress.

“It’s great seeing when they learn they’re capable,” she said.      

As may be expected, the level of challenge varies from one day to the next.

“Some days are a lot harder than others,” Christina said.

Information on the Ellie Jean Project, a charity founded by Ellie Jean Clothier’s parents, can be found at The endeavor is devoted to building accessible playgrounds for disabled kids, as well as upping awareness in the community.

If you have a teacher you would like to nominate to be showcased in this series, please email [email protected].

Feature photo: Christina Harrison and Ellie Jean Clothier/Contributed photo.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Dave Lukow. Dave has been honored as both a lyricist and screenwriter. Among other publications he’s contributed to are the Buffalo News, JD Journal, Beckett Hockey, Seminole Player’s Life, Poker Pro, Walmart World, and All In.

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