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Professional Experiences

San Diego Children's Choir
Website: San Diego Children's Choir

Chairman, Board of Directors, San Diego Children's Choir

The San Diego Children's Choir is dream and reality of Polly Campbell, Founder and Music Director. The choir is a non-profit organization for children and young adults approximately 300 strong. The children come from all over the County of San Diego and represent the community at large and their own communities during outreach concerts.

During l998 the San Diego Children's Choir represented all of us in a very successful French tour. Members of the touring choir spent 15 days in France during the summer, experiencing a host of cultural and performance oportunities. The Choir visited historic sites in Paris, Versailles, Rowen, Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel, Chateau d'Angers, Chartres and Chateau Chenonceau.

The Choir performed in concerts at St. Severin and the American Church in Paris, Sain Maclou in Rouen, Eglise Aignan in Tre'vieres (a small town near Omaha Beach), the Abbey Church of Saint Serge in Angers and Chartres Cathedral in Chartres. By staying with choir families in Rouen and Angers, many lasting internation friendships were formed by our choristers.

Polly Campbell is the Founder and Music Director of this highly ranked choir. The choir sings at many local community functions and at some of the San Diego Padres' opening game ceremonies, in addition to their exciting worldwide tours.

Special Education

1985 - 1998, Chair 97' - Member of the Board of Governors of the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education, San Diego County

The Board of Governors of NCCSE is made up of superintendents of school districts of north county San Diego. The board makes financial and policy decisions regarding special education students under the auspices of NCCSE.

The special education student for example may have a pervasive developmental disorder--autism, rett syndrome etc. or malady of a physical nature, blind, physically challenged etc.

The Board of Governors helps in state and federal legislation in order to continue programs for our youngsters. The Board of Governors hires an executive director to oversee all of the programs.

A Special Honor

Person of the Year, Del Mar

The Greater Del Mar Chamber of Commerce in 1992 honored me as person of the year for my endeavors at the Del Mar Union School District and community. I was absolutely surprised by the award. The Chamber of Commerce hosted a grand dinner at the Del Mar Hilton. Good friends from the school distict and the community were in attendance along with hundreds more from the local geographical area.

My greatest thrill was being with my family and enjoying the evening with them along with close friends.

International Education

In the early l970s I was a principal in the Cupertino Union School District. I was building a good school, yet I felt that something was missing in my overall education and internal growth. As the educational leader of the school, I felt that I could not move the school and district forward without a major paradigm shift in my life. The paradigm shift in my opinion had to come from a combination of cognitive growth commensurate with a significant travel experience to meet and live with people totally outside of my past and current environment.

My school district was at that time interviewing potential candidates to move to Zambia, Africa, and manage and provide leadership as principal of the elementary division of the International School of Lusaka. Lusaka being the Capitol City of Zambia offered an experience of living in a humanistic country and operating a school on two campuses comprised of 32 nations. The study of a political governmental system other than our own was experienced first hand and without judgement.

This experience was to be one year in duration, and with trepidation masked with excitement my family agreed... "Let's apply." It was quite a time before the announcement came down from the superintendent. Rob Harriman would be the one to participate in the school to school program with the International School of Lusaka, Zambia, Africa. This would be under the auspices of the Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools in Washington DC.

My wife, Sandy, prepared our children, ages 3 and 6, for the greatest experience of our lives. We spent a month traveling in Europe prior to our flight from Athens, Greece to Kenya. Within the week we flew to Zambia in South Central Africa.

At approximately 10:00 p.m. Sandy and I, carrying two sleeping children and luggage, deplaned Zambian Airlines and stepped foot in the country that would be our home for the next year.

This experience was profound and life changing. Our breadth and depth of understanding was stretched beyond belief.

Mentored by Two of the Greatest

Usually a person who has chosen education as a profession would be lucky to have a mentor or someone to whom he/she might emulate. I had two mentors who actually taught me more about children and developmental stages than anyone else. They were not the standard classroom teacher, but, indeed, highly successful swimming mentors.

Addison "Ad" Janes owned a swim school that was most probably the finest in the country. "Ad" would study many hours of child development and apply it to teaching swimming. His motto was to teach the child to swim without any stress on the pupil, and refine techniques that were not replicated in any text.

"Ad" also specialized in working with children who had physical and mental handicaps. In a setting like swimming, the physical and/or mental malady manifests itself quite saliently. We learned to ameliorate these rough spots while reassuring the child through trust and positive talk.

I can honestly say that I can teach any child to swim. The child can manifest the utmost fear and trepidation or have the most severe physical problem. I can teach these children to swim and at the same time translate these developmental skills into Piaget's stages of learning.

Piaget's stages of learning are manifested and greatly enhanced for observational purposes through a physical activity like learning to swim. I have taken a child from a hospital bed who cannot walk and barely talk and given him a means of locomotion that is thrilling to the child and his family.

The stages of learning are carefully scaffolded and the child is the winner.

George Haines is, in my opinion, the greatest competitive swimming coach in history. George was the head coach of the Santa Clara Swim Club and subsequently a coach at UCLA. George was also the United States Olympic Swimming Coach for Women, circa l960.

I worked several years as George's assistant and learned a great deal about "winning." I was going to college and studying to become a teacher and then a school administrator.

George was one of the best natural non-credentialed psychologists that I have ever met. His work with young children and young adults in a very stressful competitive sport was magnificent. He coached and trained so many Olympic swimming champions that it is impossible to list them all here. However, the Santa Clara Swim Club out-distanced most all foreign nations in the "gold metal" count in Olympic competition.

Some of the gold metal winners were: Mark Spitz, Dick Roth, Steve Clark, Donna DeVarona, Sharon Finneran, and Claudia Kolb, just to name a few.

I was lucky enough to be mentored by this great coach, George Haines, and learned so very much. We worked side by side and he never failed to include me in the tough learning game of "hard nose" competition. We loved every one of those children and they knew it.

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Website Copyright © 1999 - 2007 Robert L. Harriman
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