Our school is named after Thomas Jefferson who was the third President of the United States, elected in 1801 and serving until 1809. He is most widely known as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
He is one of only two people in history to have accomplished a so-called “Triple Crown,” serving as Secretary of State (under George Washington), vice president (under John Adams), and as President. He died on the Fourth of July, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
School History and Dedication
On February 13, 2007, voters approved a $17 million bond issue, which included $9.5 million for the school's construction. Thomas Jefferson Elementary was built on land purchased from a previous bond issue between 81st and 91st streets and Garnett Road and U.S. 169.
Thomas Jefferson wished to be remembered for three accomplishments from his public life though there are many more for which he was known. He was governor of Virginia. He served as the United States Minister to France. He was Secretary of State for President George Washington. He served as Vice President for John Adams. He was elected our president from 1801-1809. On his tombstone, however, for which he himself wrote the inscription, only these three accomplishments appear:
Our country declared its independence through his words. Our country more than doubled its size through his commissioning of the Lewis and Clark expedition during his presidency. Our country’s children today are assured a free and public education through his strong-held belief that educating the masses was the only sure way to ensure our liberty was preserved.
Our students at Jefferson Elementary study language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts due in part to his efforts. Thomas Jefferson had faith in the common man. He believed the common man could elect wise and virtuous leaders if, and only if, that common man was educated.
Shana Harris was named principal of Jefferson Elementary in 2019. She previously served as assistant principal at McAuliffe, Grove and Boevers Elementary. Harris worked at Grove Elementary prior to Boevers, where she served as the Instructional Coach. She comes to Union from Tifton, Georgia where she taught for 8 years and served as a Math Coach for two years.
Harris graduated from Rocky Grove High School in Franklin, PA. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. She received a Master’s Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Troy State University of Alabama. She also received an add-on to her Master’s Degree in Elementary Administration from Oral Roberts University.
Harris is married and has two boys and a girl. She enjoys spending time with family and attending to her children’s activities.
Celesta Catcher was named assistant principal intern for Jefferson Elementary in the summer of 2021.
Catcher had been serving as a teacher at Grove Elementary since 2008. She has also served as a teacher at Tulsa Public Schools, serving in education since 2008. She has also served as a PTA president.
Catcher received her bachelor’s degree in education from Northeastern State University in 2003, and her master’s degree in school administration in 2020.