Mr. Charles: Who IS This Guy?


Maria Yassopoulos, Author

Charles McIntyre doesn’t exactly teach a class at Santa Fe High, but everybody knows him and he shows up in the yearbook more than most full-time faculty members. Who is this guy?

“Mr. Charles” is a volunteer who contributes his time and expertise in any class that requires his help, primarily biology, New Mexico history, chemistry and English, and he also sits in on a few AP classes. “I truly enjoy being here with everyone laughing and make sure to give back,” he said.

“Mr. Charles is always volunteering to kelp kids,” said Mr. Mutz. “He goes the extra mile.”

Originally from Mobile, Ala., Mr. Charles was born in an all-black hospital, delivered by a black doctor. Throughtout his childhood, he was deeply affected by segregation. “I remember the white-only and black-only signs” he said. In restaurants, black people were not allowed to sit at the counter and instead had to order their food from a window. Mr. Charles could not pass a white person on the sidewalk.

In 1968, Mr. Charles recalls sitting in the front row of a full bus when a white woman asked him to get up so she could sit there. He refused. “If this had happened before Rosa Parks, I would have been hanged for speaking to a white woman in that way and refusing to give her my seat,” he explained.

Mr. Charles attended segregated schools from first through twelfth grade. He said that black students had to buy their own textbooks for every class, which were used books that white students were done with. In sports, they were only allowed to play against other black schools.

Mr. Charles attended Williamson High School where all the boys had to wear ties. He graduated in 1966. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Alabama State University in 1971. He also took graduate courses in history and educational leadership.

Mr. Charles started his teaching career in 1972 in Miami Dade County Public Schools in Florida, teaching at Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center (a teen parent program). Mr. Charles said he initially felt uncertain if he would be able to teach at a school for teen parents, but took up the challenge. He taught American history, American government, world history, economics, and Florida history there for 35 years and was the school’s activity director.

“I can truly say I did the right thing,” he said. Mr. Charles said he was proud to see his students become nurses, teachers, principals, postal workers, social workers and members of the military, adding that his past students still keep in contact with him via social media. He shared a typical greeting from a former student: “Thanks, Mr. Mc, you were always there for me and you cared.”

In 1979 he was selected Teacher of the Year to represent his school in the districtwide Teacher of the Year program.

Mr. Charles retired from teaching in 2007. Even though he loves teaching, he said, “I’ve been through it, done that.”

Mr. Charles moved to Santa Fe in 2007 and started volunteering at SFHS in 2009. He said he was first invited by Mr. Morrison to visit the school to see if he would be interested in helping out. He said he felt “shocked” on his first day, observing how much the students were like him: funny, loving, caring, energized, studious, conscientious and committed. He decided that SFHS was the right fit for him. “The school has always made me feel like a member of the faculty and not a volunteer that comes and goes,” he said.

When asked why he volunteers so much of his time, he stated that he loves helping students when they need him. “I sincerely enjoy being around them and laughing with students,” he said. He also loves it when he’s asked to chaperone field trips, whether in- or out-of-state.

“We are so fortunate to have our dedicated volunteer Mr. Charles,” said Mr. Morrison.

“Mr. Charles is one of our biggest AVID supporters,” said Ms. Trujillo. “He is awesome.”

“It’s a gift to have someone here who cares so much and is so available to both the kids and the teachers,” Ms. Gerber said. “He makes me smile every time I see him.”

“If it weren’t for Mr. Charles, I would have never gotten through my first overnight, school-sponsored field trip,” said Ms. Ault.

Mr. Charles works to motivate students to focus on their assignments and tries to boost their confidence. He texts students to remind them to do their homework. “We have a good time Snapchatting,” he said.

Mr. Charles said he has “adopted” some students because they need that “extra attention.”
He has even made home visits for students who need the extra love. “I always believe that if you just show a little love and care, the student will feel it and will always remember the one [teacher] that showed genuine interest,” he said.

“He believes in all students,” said Ms. Ault.

“Mr. Charles is so funny and very helpful,” said Ariana Holmes.

Mr. Charles is our school cheerleader. He tells non-SFHS students how “fantastic” SFHS is and is always recruiting for the school. He oftens tells students from other schools to “come home to real school, SFHS, because we have more AP classes, excellent teachers, and ME!”

“He always keeps the classroom laughing and cheerful,” said Ms. Salazar.

At sporting events, Mr. Charles can often be found alongside the cheer team. (Unfortunately they haven’t given him his pompom yet.) During assemblies, he is out in front dancing, cheering and just being our #DemonNumber1Fan. And he congratulates ALL students who are recognized for any award or honor, posting all the information on his Facebook page.

“Mr. Charles is the heart of Santa Fe High,” said Mrs. Ault.

“I love this school and would not want to be anywhere else because the students give me love, hugs, and they make me happy,” he said.

“He’s a nice guy,” said Anthony Vasquez. “You can have a good conversation with him.”

Santa Fe High is not the only place Mr. Charles gives his time. During the summer he volunteers at the Santa Fe Opera gift shop and works with the Georgia O’Keeffe Arts and Leadership Program for Boys. He is a Lensic Ambassador and community liaison for the La Cienega Fire Department. He is also a board member at Monte Del Sol Charter School.

Mr. Charles is single and has no kids, but he said he has always spent a lot of time with his many nephews and nieces.

In his free time, Mr. Charles likes to read and spend time with his two Yorkies, whom he loves and spoils. They are brothers who were born on St. Patrick’s Day, and their names are Ronan and Oliver.