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Teacher of the Year: CHS’s Michael Harvey had epiphany about his career path

Michael Harvey discovered his love for social studies and history while in middle school, but it took career pivots and an eventual epiphany to make him realize his place in the classroom was his true destiny.

Even though hints along the way tried to steer him to a career in education when he was planning his transition to adulthood, Harvey said he ignored them – or just didn’t pay attention. His first plan was to become a journalist, a natural career choice for someone who loves government and history.

“Despite these gentle pushes toward the field of teaching, it was still not something I saw myself pursuing,” said the long-time Carrollton High School social studies teacher. “I went to college to be a journalist and then when that didn’t work out, I quickly pivoted to a pre-law focus. As a history and political science double major, my focus was on doing everything I could to get into law school, and I was fortunate enough to succeed. Unfortunately for me, I did not anticipate and appreciate the nature of what a first-year law school class involved.”

Harvey said a culture of cutthroat competition where it was essentially every man for himself was “a rude awakening for me and immediately caused me to doubt my future career trajectory. It should have been apparent to me that the confrontational and cold aspect of that classroom culture was not for me. This was the event I had been waiting for to enlighten me as to my true calling. I was forced to be honest with myself – including who I was and what I wanted to be. I knew I was passionate about social studies. I knew I loved to learn, and I had a deep desire to share my love of learning and my passion for the subjects I loved. The lightbulb moment had arrived, and since that moment almost 30 years ago, I have never looked back.”

Harvey’s impact on his students – as well as other faculty members – led to his selection as Carrollton High School Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023 last spring. He and Teachers of the Year for other district schools – John Megathlin, CJHS; Stefanie Crites, Carrollton Upper Elementary; and Tamara Wooten, Carrollton Elementary School are now vying for the district honor to be announced next month.