Frances Harwell retired as an educator after 34 years. Ms. Harwell held positions in teaching, curriculum, building, district and Central Administration levels spanning from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade. Some of her areas of responsibilities also required her to serve as Affirmative Action Officer, supervise school nurses, assist collegiate and post graduate students. Ms. Harwell is a mother, member of the Deptford Township Foundation for Educational Excellence (DTFFEE), and a Lifetime member of the Deptford Township High School Alumni Association in Deptford, New Jersey. Along with academic honors, she has also received numerous inter-scholastic and collegiate athletic awards and held records. She still holds the Girl’s Deptford HS shot put record, to date. In the past, Ms. Harwell was recognized as being the “Most Versatile” in her class. In 2015, she began the Frances “Frannie” Harwell Most Versatile Award which is given to a male and female graduating senior at Deptford High School. Ms. Harwell coached and mentored local, young student athletes. After coaching, she began traveling (as far as Hawaii) and officiating youth to master athletes, including Olympians, as a New Jersey and United States Track & Field Official. In 2002, she became the first female and first African American woman USA Track & Field Referee in the Mid-Atlantic. Ms. Harwell has been officiating at the Penn Relays for 19 years. She is currently Ethics Committee Chair for the Southern Chapter of the New Jersey Track & Field Officials of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). Other honors and awards received include a Martin Luther King Award; The Elliott G. Heard, Jr. Upstream Navigator Award; Educational Foundation Grant; Who’s Who in Religion; Teacher-Of-The-Year in two school districts in two different states; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges; Black History Essay Contest Winner; Alpha Kappa Alpha Award; Leadership Award; Black belt in Tang Soo Doo; grants; Black Alumni and minority recognition awards.
Other firsts attributed to Ms. Harwell include being the first principal of Fellowship Christian Academy in Dallas, TX (A ministry of Dr. Tony Evans at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church). She is the first and only District Elementary Vice-Principal in Deptford Township Schools, to date. The first African American principal of a school for students with special needs. The first person assigned the title of Supervisor of Special Areas and Special Programs. She assisted in opening the first Spartan School of Business. She was instrumental in Deptford Twp. School District being recognized by the NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants) and the Governor of New Jersey as “Best Communities for Music Education”. Ms. Harwell’s mission is to assist in developing individuals socially, emotionally, academically, physically, spiritually and economically. She is devoted to her family, church, business and the community. She is in the process of expanding her mentorship in the areas of education; entrepreneurship; economic development; the arts; diversity; equity and social justice. The associations and mentorship received from these interactions reinforce her values and beliefs. Other affiliations and involvements include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Impact 100 South Jersey (Collective Philanthropy Powered by Women). This spirit of assisting those in need has expanded today through being a Silver Life Member, At Large Board Member, and Co-Economic Development Chair of the Gloucester County NAACP.