Hendry County Teacher of the Year: Leslie J. Harn

Clewiston High School science teacher, Leslie J. Harn, grew up in Immokalee, where his father worked as an orange grove manager and his mother drove a school bus.

“I won the school spelling bee for three years in a row when I was a student at Immokalee Middle School,” Harn replied, when asked about his fondest childhood memories. He also says he felt that his seventh Grade science teacher, Mr. Bowdler, was very encouraging and had a huge impact on him.

In November, Harn was chosen as Clewiston High School Teacher of the year. Then in January, he was named Hendry County’s Teacher of the Year.

“I teach biology which is a critical subject. My students are those who typically struggle with science,” explained Harn. “My goal is to make my classroom one where students enjoy learning and have fun while doing so.” He also said he is honored to have received the awards.

When asked about what a typical day looked like for him, he responded, “I spend my day trying to help students, usually to understand Science, but sometimes with other challenges that life has thrown at them.”

Living in Glades County and working in Hendry County, Harn says he likes the small rural area, but wishes there were employment opportunities for his students and their families.

Finding his biggest inspiration in his faith and his family, Harn said he misses going to church and fellowshipping with his church family. “My wife and I are members of Caloosa Baptist,” Harn said, “We are a close-knit family, who value our Christian beliefs as well as Education. Three of the four of us are educators, and the fourth is in college and plans on getting into education. I am proud of my family and the choices they have made.”

One of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make was, “Leaving my teaching position in Collier County where I had tenure and taking a pay cut to come and teach in Hendry County.” But, he explained, “It was worth it though, because I feel that I have much more support from my administration at Clewiston High School.”

When asked what advice he had to give to those just starting high school this fall, Harn replied, “Consider this a new beginning. You have the opportunity to be as successful as you choose.”

Congratulations, Mr. Harn! Thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

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