Joyce is an educator, speaker, writer, workshop trainer, facilitator, community activist, and advocate for justice and fairness. Prior to her recent retirement, she was the Manager of Community Engagement in the Executive Office at Education Northwest. Joyce also served as the Director of the Region X Equity Assistance Center (EAC) for twenty-one years providing training and technical assistance on race, gender and national origin in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
At the age of 19, Harris co-founded the Black Educational Center (BEC) in Portland which she considers as one of her most rewarding experiences. She taught science clubs at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, was a national trainer for Playtime is Science an equity based approach to teaching parents how to engage their children in science activities. She was the math curriculum coordinator and teacher for the BEC. She has taught creative writing to talented and gifted students and wrote an essay on African American Traditions in Language Arts for Portland Public Schools. She continues to work with school districts, agencies, and community organizations on equity issues and compliance with federal civil rights laws.
She currently serves as co-chair of the African American/Black Student Success statewide advisory committee and is on the Early Learning Council’s Equity Subcommittee. She was recently appointed to serve on Oregon’s Every Student Succeeds Act Statewide Advisory Committee.
She is the recipient of many awards recognizing over 45 years of volunteer work. In 2015, the City of Portland Human Rights Commission presented her with a lifetime achievement award and the University of Oregon honored her with an award for outstanding service to Oregon. The Skanner newspaper awarded her the 2014 Drum Major for Justice Award, and she received a Woman of Excellence Award in Education from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
She is the proud grandmother of 3-year-old Jenna and her 2-year-old sister Jordyn. Joyce’s passion is collecting books and memorabilia that document the history and culture of people of African descent. Her personal library contains over 8,000 books. She has a B.A. degree in American Studies from Reed College, a B.S degree in Elementary Education from Oregon State University; a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Portland State University, and has completed doctoral course work at Oregon State University.