Accomplished Local Teacher’s Compelling Story

Christopher Harvey is a science teacher at Edward H. White High School here in Jacksonville.  But Chris is not just a science teacher, he’s an extraordinary science teacher.

According to an editorial that Chris wrote for the Florida Times-Union on August 21, 2011, he has always known that the purpose of his life was to help people.

For seven years, he has felt perfectly fulfilled in that mission, as he has had the opportunity to teach students with some of the highest needs in the district.

Yes, Ed White High School is one of Jacksonville’s “challenged schools.”

Chris was Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010.  He found his role to bridge the gap between the public perception of the school district in the wonderful stories that were taking place inside schools like his–becoming a voice in the community by sharing stories through the local newspaper.

Chris has earned his National Board Certification, participated as a NOAA Teacher at Sea, completed graduate work at Columbia University through the NASA Endeavor Teacher Certificate Program, completed graduate work at Columbia University through the NASA Endeavor Teacher Certificate Program and earned an opportunity to be a Zero-G “Zero-naut.”

Further, Chris has been recognized by Duval County with merit pay and has always received a “satisfactory” or “high-performing” evaluation.

Also, Chris has been selected to write curriculum and district assessments, to provide professional development to teachers both within his school and across the district, and to train new teachers as a CET certified mentor.

Chris looks back on the last seven years and remembers fondly the faces of so many of his students–students in a struggling Title 1 school, most of whom have very few people, if anyone, to cheer them on and perhaps even fewer to love them.

He has cried with his students as they buried their friends and have celebrated academic scholarships, athletic accomplishments, and diplomas that they struggled to earn.

The highlight of his career, Chris reports, was sitting on the commencement stage last year as teacher of the year and watching the students he had as freshmen walk across the stage as successful young adults.

Chris says the teachers are rarely rewarded for their hard work, and the tears and the smiles on the faces of those students have become the trophy of his career.

I don’t have a picture of Christopher Harvey.  I’ve never met Christopher Harvey.  If I ever have the pleasure to meet him, it would be one of the highlights of MY life.

Coming Tuesday: Chris Makes an Extraordinary Decision