Harrell, 41, was named headmaster in March after Curt McCain resigned.
Harrell, a Madison native, said he was overwhelmed with the reception he’s received since coming to the school.
“I’m really excited; this is a rural school with a big inspirational emphasis, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that,” Harrell said.
Harrell said he was also impressed with Carroll Academy’s academics and its number of dedicated teachers in the classrooms.
“There are several quality teachers here,” Harrell said. “These are teachers who strive for the students to excel and believe in community service. Education is very important, and we want to teach them to become productive citizens.”
A father of three, Harrell attended Madison-Ridgeland Academy and graduated from Canton Academy in 1991. He then attended Mississippi State University with hopes of playing football. However, he suffered a leg injury and attended the university on an academic scholarship. After graduating from MSU, Harrell first pursued a career with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, but his heart was in education.
“The Lord redirected me, and that’s when I returned to education,” Harrell said.
In 1998, Harrell received his Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in leadership administration, while teaching and coaching at Canton Academy. He was also a teacher and coach at Canton High School. For the past nine years, Harrell has been the headmaster at Central Hinds Academy.
Harrell said he wants to continue successful traditions for which Carroll Academy is known.
“I want to run the school like you would run your family,” Harrell said. “I don’t want to be an administrator to a student, but like that second dad. I want them to leave and feel that I really care about them.”
Harrell said when he met with school’s parents, faculty, staff and students in the spring, he shared a personal testimony with them.
“To me, honoring God is number one,” Harrell said. “Carroll has this great family aspect about it, and I’m impressed with the friendliness and kindness of it all. I was welcomed with opened arms in the school and the community, and I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Harrell and his wife Heidi have three children, Hayley, 14, Kensley, 11 and Hunter, 7.