James studied Literature at Georgia State University, and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Santa Clara University (SCU). His passion for education began when, at the age of 16, he worked as a teaching assistant at the Aim High Summer Program. Aim High is dedicated to preparing middle-school aged children from low-income communities for success in high school and beyond.
He did every job in the program from intern to master teacher and finally site director. After graduating from SCU, and while still a Summer employee at Aim High, he began teaching English at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco.
In 2004, Harris left the classroom to pursue his life long dream: a career in advertising and marketing. That same year he established Morgan Media Group (MMG), a brand development and marketing company based in San Francisco. In 2014, MMG celebrated ten years of service in the advertising industry.
James served on the Aim High Board of Trustees and was a founding board member at Great Oakland Public Schools, a local organization that connects and activates the community to advocate for quality public schools across Oakland.
“Growing up in East Oakland and later in Atlanta, Georgia, I had lots of opportunities to go down the wrong path. I consider myself fortunate to have avoided that fate, but a story like mine should be the rule and not the exception. Success should not mean having to leave our community. Success should mean coming home,” he says. “I love Oakland, and I'm proud to serve as the District 7 Trustee.”
Harris was elected, by his colleagues, Vice President of the Board on January 6, 2014; President on January 5, 2015; re-elected President on January 4, 2016.