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Longtime educator to keynote King Day banquet

South Boston News
Harris / January 08, 2020

The Mecklenburg County NAACP Branch will host its annual Freedom Fund/Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Banquet celebration on Monday, Jan. 20, at 4 p.m. at VFW Post 7166 in South Hill. The guest speaker will be educator and county native Charles Harris.

Harris is a 1972 graduate of Bluestone Senior High School. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education from Virginia State College, a Master of Education from the University of Virginia, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Harris’ career in education extends over 36 years as a social studies teacher and coach at Washington and Lee High School in Montross; assistant principal of Fluvanna High School in Palmyra; principal of Goochland Middle School in Goochland County; and a principal and director of middle schools for Spotsylvania County Public Schools.

Harris recently completed 10 years as the division superintendent for Sussex County Public Schools in Sussex, from 2003 to June 30, 2013. As superintendent, he moved the school division from having no accredited schools to all schools reaching accreditation under the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Many changes occurred during those years with decisions driven by data. The budget process was revised to zero based budgeting with faculty and staff receiving significant raises for the first six years of Harris’ tenure. In addition, new facilities were constructed or renovated to modern facilities — including the county’s middle school, a new elementary school, new operations and transportation facility and an administrative office.

Currently, Harris is a Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership Scholar Fellow, certified as a facilitator/trainer and instructional coach by the National Institute for School Leadership. He also serves as a lead evaluator for the school accreditation agency now know as Cognia.

In addition to his teaching and administrative career, Harris has coached football and basketball, with the coaching staff directing high school football teams into the state playoffs for three years — once going undefeated into the VHSL State Championship game.

He has also served as regional chairman of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, served seven years on the executive board of the Virginia High School League and completed a four-year term on the National Federation of High School (NFHS) associations board of directors. The NFHS establishes rules for secondary school activities and sports for all 50 states.

Harris has also served as an adjunct professor at George Mason University and Virginia State University.

Harris is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and president of the Richmond Chapter of the National Negro Golf Association. He spends his time playing golf, loves photography and can be found sometimes riding his Harley Davidson.

For further information or tickets, please contact Troy Bowers (434) 738-7797, Virginia Fenty, Clarksville, Mary Winckler (434) 447-8004; B. Lacy Marks, (434) 636-2881, Claudette Traynham (434) 447-4588, or any member of the NAACP.

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