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mail@authorsguildoftn.org    +1.865.254-3054 and 865.657-9560.

Jerry grew up in a Coast Guard family who moved quite a bit, with the result that he attended 8 different public schools. These circumstances provided him with some unusual experiences and insights into the many subcultures that exist in the northern and midwestern states. Experiences in the south began for him when he attended Centre College of Kentucky. 

During that time he worked as a deckhand on an ocean going dredge boat off the Texas coast for two summers. This work provided him with additional cultural interactions with a large number of Hispanics and people from "Louisiana Bayou country". Upon graduating from Centre, he pursued an M. S. degree in school psychology at Miami University of Ohio. Within days of graduating from Miami U. he was experiencing basic training in the U. S. Army. He went on to complete Advanced Infantry Training and Infantry Officers Candidate School to become commissioned as a second lieutenant. Reluctant Lieutenant: From Basic to OCS in the Sixties is his memoir of that experience. Upon being commissioned, he was assigned to the JFK Special Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg, N. C. The army gave Jerry additional opportunities to work with many individuals from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. When he completed his military obligation, he worked for two years as the only school psychologist in seven inner city schools of St. Petersburg, Florida, which were being integrated for the first time. His many experiences with diverse cultures served him well during that stressful time. From there, Jerry enrolled in the University of Tennessee's doctoral program in school psychology. Two years later he received his Ph. D. degree and began working for the Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative (LTVEC), assisting area school systems to develop their school psychology programs. In 1976 he became the executive director of LTVEC and held that position until 2014. During Jerry's tenure at LTVEC many innovative programs for children were developed that received regional and national acclaim. One of those programs became the focus of the book Rosa Kennedy and he wrote, A School for Healing: Alternative Strategies For Teaching At-Risk Students. At this time Jerry is developing a collection of short stories that relate unusual and noteworthy experiences he has in his early life and into his adulthood. They all reflect some surprising displays of human kindness.

My Podcasts

Books by Jerry H. Morton

Interview with Author

Why did you like to write?

From my earliest childhood memories into the present, I have been an oral storyteller. Much of my professional life as a school psychologist, educational cooperative director and the training director of a doctoral internship program in school psychology that was accredited by the American Psychological Association has been spent writing confining and detailed government reports. Writing about situations that I have observed or been a part of during my life that are not forced into constraining boundaries is fun. 

How are you able to remember the true stories in such detail?

I just do. You may notice that in some of the stories I will switch from the past tense to the present tense. When I start telling the story and recalling details of the event, I seem to have returned to that time and be living in it once again. The present tense narrative conveys that sense of immediacy I experience. 

Was Reluctant Lieutenant your first publication of true stories?

No, The School for Healing contains several true stories relating events at the alternative school. I told those stories when it was appropriate to make a point concerning a specific strategy used by the school. The identities of the people involved in the stories were protected, as was the case in Reluctant Lieutenant. 

What are you writing now?

I am writing a series of short stories that tell of events in my life that I have observed or been a participant in from my early childhood to the present. 

What seems to be the theme of those stories?

The spontaneous display of compassion and kindness by children and adults when circumstances of the moment appear to have removed any reasonable hope that such compassion or kindness can be present is the natural story theme. People are so wonderful. They develop different belief systems based upon their cultural and personal experiences. We all work hard to maintain those ingrained belief systems regardless of mounting evidence that there are flaws those beliefs. It is the inherent kindness within each of us that allows us to break free from the trap of thinking we always know what we know to be true.

My Latest Blogs

06 August 2017
Short Stories

 “Mr. Jerry, Mr. Jerry, guess what?” the four year old excitedly shouted as he entered the Sunday morning classroom for three –to-five year olds.

Several children were crowded near the door’s entrance as I stood there trying to welcome each one with the ritual hug. The excited child circled his arms around my leg and then looked expectantly into my face.

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16 April 2015
Short Stories

It was a brisk spring afternoon.  The drive into Knoxville, Tennessee, was pleasant.  The traffic was light, not jammed up the way it always was on the two lanes going west every morning.  The same was true for the westbound lanes on I-75/40 although that side of the interstate was starting to pick-up.  It was definitely heavier than the eastbound traffic.

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