ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Dessa Ann Jerkins-Harris’s love for children and music was incomparable.
She was an educator, visionary, businesswoman, minister, and vocalist.
She was born on April 25, 1949, in Newtonville, NJ.
Furthermore, she was the 7th of thirteen children of the late Fred Sr. and Gladys Jerkins.
She was raised in a Christian household in Southern New Jersey.
At age seventeen she moved to Toledo, Ohio. She graduated from Libbey High School.
She obtained both her B.S. in Education and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Toledo.
Furthermore, she worked for over thirty years as a kindergarten teacher, mentor and reading coach with the Toledo Public School System. It was during that time; she developed her passion for children.
She envisioned creating a place where she would be able to prepare children for excellence and future success.
When she retired from TPS, she endeavored to make her passion a reality.
In 2006, she founded Learners for Life Child Development Center with her team that included her loving husband, Bill Harris, children, and grandchildren. As Founder, CEO, and administrator, it quickly became a premier five star rated childcare center in Toledo, Ohio.
In 2012, she expanded her vision and founded an elementary school, Academy of Educational Excellence.
The school is yet another example of her commitment to the education and well-being of children.
She is survived by her loving husband, Minister William (Bill) Harris Jr., who was the first AEE Governing Board Chairperson and her children, grand-children and great-grand children.
Most recently our Governing Authority unanimously approve to change our school name in memory of our founder:
ANN JERKINS-HARRIS ACADEMY OF EXCELLENCE
Rest in Peace.