Department of Defense Education Activity

Southeast District Mourns Passing of Longtime Ft. Knox Educator

Denise Harris

SOUTHEAST DISTRICT — September 18, 2020 — Ms. Harris was a Guidance Counselor (Grades 9-10) at Fort Knox Middle High School at the time of her death.

She joined the Department of Defense Education Activity in 2001 and spent her entire DoDEA career of 19 years in the Fort Knox Community until her death. Her work history included assignments at:

7/31/2001 - 1/6/2008 Teacher (Macdonald IS)
1/7/2008 to 7/24/2016 Guidance Counselor (MacDonald ES)
7/25/2016 to 9/15/2020 Guidance Counselor (Fort Knox MS/HS)

Ms. Harris was a veteran and retired from the United States Army.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Wallace & Emma Harris. She is survived by:

  • Three sons, Honarai Harris of Mount Washington, KY; Keyon Thompson of Louisville, KY, Breion Harris of Washington, D.C.;
  • Five grandchildren, Zakya Thompson, Kingston Thompson, Zoey Thompson, Joey Holmes, Noah Holmes;
  • Four sisters, Valerie (Faye) Davis, Sheila Hudson, Angela Washington, Lakeitha Williams; and
  • A host of family & friends.

In a letter notifying to parents and students about the death of Ms. Harris, Principal Lonnie R. Gilmore, Jr. expressed heartfelt sadness over the tragic loss.

“Ms. Harris dedicated many years to the Fort Knox Community in service as an Army veteran, teacher, and school counselor. She was also a beloved staff member who was known for lifting up others with her smile, encouraging words and jokes."

Principal Gilmore also extended the assistance of the Fort Knox Middle High School Crisis Response Team to any students, staff and family members needing support.

Ms Harris was known as a caring and loving educator, well respected by students. Although she was assigned to grades 9 and 10 to provide career and guidance counseling, Ms. Harris was sought after by students of all grades and always had time to listen and provide advice.

Assistant Principal Luis Dominquez said, “She was always available for people who wanted to talk, students and adults alike. She was like a grandmother to many, always recognizing the moment when a person needed a kind word or some help with a problem.”

Dominquez said that “she had a smile for everyone and the ability to say something meaningful and appropriate to each person she encountered to help them get through the day.”

Southeast District Superintendent Christy Huddleston said that Ms. Harris will be remembered for making all of her students feel equally loved and cared for.

“She was a problem solver who taught students how to work though issues and to make good decisions. Ms. Harris was a trusted advisor to students and faculty alike. Her quick wit and sense of humor brought joy to many. The Fort Knox school community was truly blessed and honored by her many contributions over the years,” said Huddleston.

Arrangements for Ms. Harris are being handled by the Chism Family Funeral Home in Vine Grove, KY. Visitation will be from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM Saturday and from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM Sunday. Funeral services for Ms. Harris will be held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, September 20, 2020.