Brandy Harris, Hillcrest High School, Class of 2004
As a first-generation college graduate, Brandy Harris faced a few obstacles as she navigated her way toward success. Those challenges and the people who encouraged her inspired Brandy to become a champion for other children.
Because educators had been such a positive force in her life, Brandy became a teacher. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and joined the faculty at Hillcrest High School as a speech and debate coach.
Eventually, an opportunity presented itself to serve even more children. In 2019, Brandy was named the first female chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield.
Since then, she has guided the organization to many successes and led with wisdom and vision during the global pandemic. Under her leadership, she has helped open eight locations, hired more than 150 staff members and served 1,500 club members and 8,000 youth in the community.
She has also been instrumental in developing an innovative partnership with Springfield Public Schools to open three Boys & Girls Clubs units at schools, making services more accessible to students.
Brandy is passionate about protecting and advocating for children, especially those who are under-represented and under-resourced. She knows from experience the difference a mentor can make in the life of a child and strives to serve as their voice through all of her work at Boys & Girls Clubs and as a volunteer in the community.
Dr. Jeff and Marcia Johnson, Parkview High School and Glendale High School, Class of 1966
Teaming up since high school, Jeff and Marcia Johnson are a true power couple. They have leveraged their combined passion, leadership and influence to make Springfield a better place, especially for children.
They both attended Parkview High School as freshmen but when Glendale High School opened, Marcia became a Falcon. Upon graduation, Marcia’s path led her to Drury University and a career as an elementary school teacher. Jeff pursued his goal of becoming a doctor, attending Vanderbilt University, University of Arkansas and University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He recently retired after a 38-year career as a urologist at Mercy Hospital.
Settling in Springfield, Marcia and Jeff focused on raising their three children and contributing to the community they love.
Their efforts often focus on causes benefitting children and education. Marcia volunteered as a leader in PTA and supported non-profit organizations. She worked as development director for Foundation for Springfield Public Schools and was instrumental in raising money to equip classrooms with new technology. Jeff served on the board of directors of the Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Family Y and Springfield Arts Council.
In addition to volunteering, the couple has also spearheaded fundraising efforts to support organizations, including Springfield Public Schools. Their generosity also extends to Jeff’s alma mater, University of Arkansas. While he was alumni association president, Jeff and Marcia funded The Johnson Fellow program, which helps engage and inspire students by bringing esteemed alumni back to the campus to share their life experiences.
Lynn Craig McGrew, Parkview High School, Class of 1996
In February 2021, the nation’s attention was focused on Mars, monitoring the landing of the Perseverance rover. Lynn Craig McGrew had a front row seat from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. As a guidance and flight dynamics engineer for NASA, she has played an integral role in successfully landing Mars rovers for the past 20 years.
Lynn contributed to developing a system to successfully steer a craft through the Martian atmosphere and land it on a precise target. This accomplishment earned her team the Johnson Space Center Director Innovation Award.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronomical engineering and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, she joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. There she began working on Mars exploration missions, including Spirit, Opportunity and Phoenix.
After moving to Johnson Space Center in Houston, she was assigned to the Curiosity rover team. She also served in Mission Control for the International Space Station.
Lynn’s spirit of adventure is evident in her personal pursuits of running and cycling, skills she has used to guide Paralympic athletes and others with disabilities to safely achieve their goals. She qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2019 and has moved on to a new goal -- to complete an athletic event in all 50 states. To date she has completed 29.