Harmon Acker a man of faith

Published 1:38 pm Monday, June 6, 2011

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Formerly a lifeguard, photo journalist, disc jockey, entrepreneur, politician, realtor, bus driver and Navy Reserves petty officer, local born and bred Alabaster resident Harmon Acker has given in to the family business of teaching.

Acker admits he has avoided teaching for years. Parents Dan and Judy, sister Melody, brother Danny, sister-in-law Andrea, brother and sister-in-law Jade and Shelah and wife (former Shannon McElroy, a special ed teacher for Shelby County Board of Education) are all teachers.

Jade and Shelah are also missionaries.

Alabaster resident Harmon Acker, a University of Montevallo graduate and member of Westwood Baptist Church, said faith and family are the most important aspects of his life. (Special/Sandra Thames)

Acker, a young man of considerable talents, loves softball (still playing), building stuff, camping and coaching all kinds of sports. Tori, age 16, and Hardy, age 14, complete their family for now. A Thompson High School graduate, Acker names Alan Downs as his all-time favorite teacher and says, “He was one of the few teachers who truly cared about his students knowing the material.”

In 1990, Acker received his bachelor’s in mass communication from the University of Montevallo, and in 2008 a master’s in education (when the teaching bug caught him).

What’s most important to Harmon Acker? “That’s easy, my faith and my family. I want my kids to be good and faithful Christians.” A charter member of Westwood Baptist Church, Acker expects to continue his teaching, church involvement and be an active, caring parent and teacher.

His “bucket list” is short. 1) make a bucket list 2) adopt a special needs child. Acker would like to manage his time a little bit better and hopes “to retire before I die.” Don’t we all.

Acker is a history teacher (grades seven through 11) at the local “Day Program,” which was founded in 1982 by former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Patti Smith as a school to give “at risk children” the opportunity to catch up to grade level and perhaps graduate with their peers. It is funded by United Way, Shelby County Board of Education, Department of Youth Services, Shelby County Commission plus various grants and donations. Acker is a welcome addition to their staff.

If any of you readers remember the old Thompson Plantation on the banks of Buck Creek, you will be interested to know that beautiful, historic piece of land is home to the Ackers since December 2000. He and his wife designed the gorgeous home.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at bobthames1942@yahoo.com.