Born in Huntsville, AL on April 22, 1969, Charles J. Harbin, III traveled the world before finding his calling as an educator. Charles attended school in India, Virginia, Australia and Maryland, with later university studies in Bennington, VT, Sarasota, FL and GA. In pursuit of his desire to teach, Charles earned a degree in British and American Literature from New College of Florida and a Master’s in Education from Kennesaw State.
During his career he taught middle school in Japan, Phoenix, AZ and at Fulton Science Academy in Roswell, GA. He later taught high school literature at Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia where he influenced budding journalists and promising writers, to athletes and musicians with his innovative, and at times unconventional classroom methods.
A popular teacher, nicknamed “Harbs” by students, Charles connected with his class through books, humor, lively discussions and popular music. On campus or around town students could hear Harbs coming – his speakers pumping anything from Classical to HipHop – long before they spotted his green jeep with the school’s hornet mascot emblazoned on the back.
In the classroom he worked hard to encourage his students to think creatively and provide the tools essential to excel in academics. He was a regular fixture at school functions, performances and sporting events. Showing support for his student’s endeavors was a priority.
During his years at Roswell High School he also oversaw the production of the student run paper, The Sting, and served as soccer coach for girls’ junior varsity teams. In the Summer of 2011 Charles was enjoying what he described to be an enriching experience tutoring students in transition at Atlanta’s Drake House.
An adventurer and world traveler, Charles grew up in India, Australia, Virginia and New York. As a young adult he lived in France, Burma and Japan, traveling widely throughout his life absorbing and loving cultural challenges and making friends worldwide.Curious about the world, he embraced life wherever he was; sometimes in unique places that fed his rebel instincts or at times in serene settings like the Caribbean.
He was known to be a quirky, entertaining raconteur at times, at others, Byron-like, brooding, intense and passionate.Always consistent was his desire to open the minds of his students to their individual and infinite possibilities… and his love for family, especially his daughters. Best said by someone who knew him well, “I’ve always thought that Kate and Molly were his one true love.”
In the prime of his life and career, tragically, Charles was killed in July 2011 by a reckless motorist while he crossed a street in Atlanta.
Charles J. Harbin, III lived life passionately, knowing that life is measured by the number of breathless moments one has, not by the number of breaths one takes.
In November 2011 the Charles J. Harbin, III Memorial Scholarship was formed
to commemorate his life, and to change lives and open doors
through education. Find out more: www.CharlesHarbinIII-Scholarship.com
Editors Note 2/23/2012: In regards to questions about a recent story in the press – According to Charles and court records, while at New College in FL, a friend he knew from his teen years living in Australia, Poppy Montgomery, came to the US to be with him, and had hopes of becoming an actress. October 22, 1992 Poppy Montgomery married Charles Harbin. Poppy is currently an actress on a television show, Unforgettable.
At the time of his death, Charles Harbin was dating a woman in the Atlanta area. His daughters were born of a previous relationship.
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