Hello, I’m Kirk Morris, your principal.
I am originally from a small town in Mississippi. I moved to Minnesota in 1992 after graduating from Mississippi Valley State University. My career in education began in 1995 when I was a participant in the Collaborative Urban Educator Program through the University of St. Thomas. After starting a family and career, I finally went back to St. Thomas and finished up my Masters of Teaching and Learning in 2006. I went back to school, at the University of St. Mary’s, in 2007 for my administrator’s license and received my license in 2009. In 2012, I began work at Minnesota State University where I was a member of a two-year cohort (Institute for Engaged Principal Leadership).
My work for Saint Paul Public Schools began when I was hired at Cherokee Heights in 1996 as a fifth grade teacher. I’ve worked at Cherokee Heights, Linwood A+, Highland Middle, Webster (Obama), Ramsey and Murray middle schools. I spent a total of eight years as a fifth grade teacher. I was a junior high math teacher for three years. I was a coordinator for EDL for two years, and have been a school administrator for the past seven years.
I also have coaching experience.
I was the head baseball coach at Highland Park Senior for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. I have also been the assistant varsity baseball coach at St. Paul Academy for the past 5 seasons. I have a passion for working with our youth both in education and athletics.
When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy traveling, exercising, attending sporting events, reading and relaxing in my backyard.
Q & A with Principal Kirk Morris
SPPS: What do you hope to bring to Benjamin E. Mays?
Morris: I hope to bring positive energy around education to our learning community. My hope is that we can work closely with the community for the benefit of our students. It really does take a village to raise a child and we must work together to accomplish our goals.
SPPS: What are you most excited about for the new school year?
Morris: I am most excited about being back in an elementary school. I am looking forward to working with staff and students on establishing a strong foundation for our students and preparing them for middle school.
SPPS: What are you most excited about regarding your new role?
Morris: I am most excited about the challenge of raising achievement for our students. I’m excited about being the leader and setting positive examples for our students, staff, and community. I’m very hopeful that my growth mindset will lead to many positive changes for our community.
SPPS: What skills and experiences will you bring to Benjamin E. Mays?
Morris: I have been in education and coaching for nearly 20 years. I bring with me a wealth of skills and experience. I’ve been an elementary teacher and middle school teacher. I’ve also spent the past seven years as a middle school administrator. My time has middle school administrator has prepared me to lead an elementary school. My passion for education and “failure is not an option” attitude helps guide my leadership.
SPPS: What challenges will you tackle at Benjamin E. Mays?
Morris: I’m looking forward to building relationships with all stakeholders and am willing to tackle head on whatever challenges arise. I will remain positive that we can achieve anything that we set out to accomplish.
SPPS: What changes, if any, would you like to make at Benjamin E. Mays?
Morris: I will not go into Benjamin E. Mays IB World School looking to make changes. I will go in and build relationships. There are a lot of great things happening at Mays and I will continue the momentum built by Dr. Brookins and his staff.
SPPS: How will you spend your summer vacation?
Morris: I’ve spent a large amount of time getting to know my new school. I’ve spent time relaxing with my family, reading, and exercising. I do have a biking trip planned for the end of July.
SPPS: Tell us about your family and any pets you have.
Morris: I’m the very proud father of three girls and one boy. Sadie, Kari, and KJ are all away in college and starting their careers. At home with me is Jaime, my life partner, and Clare. We don’t have any pets.
SPPS: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Morris: I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with the Benjamin E. Mays School community and am looking forward to an exciting year!