Mr. Charles E. Harkins was posthumously inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame on January 24, 2011.
From Harford County Public Schools:
Charles E. Harkins was born and raised in Harford County and graduated from Highland High School in 1931. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in 1935, and went on to complete a master’s program there in 1936. His research project was focused in the zoology field and involved banding and tracking birds. In 1942, he earned a certificate in school administration from the University of Maryland. Mr. Harkins began his career with Harford County Public Schools in 1943 when he accepted the position of principal of Bel Air High School. In 1950, Mr. Harkins was promoted to Assistant to the Superintendent, overseeing the Harford Glen Environmental Center, the adult education program, federal government funding and pupil personnel work in the Bel Air area. In 1954, Mr. Harkins died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 39. With 18 years of service to Maryland schools, 11 of them spent with Harford County Public Schools, Mr. Harkins made great contributions to Harford County. It was in his role as supervisor in charge of Harford Glen Environmental Center that Mr. Harkins may have had the most impact on the school system. As a former science teacher and advocate for conservation, he took the 245-acre government surplus property, house and lake and developed it into an area for outdoor education. He took on selection and planning of a campground, construction and operating costs, recreation facilities, equipment required, camp sanitation and mosquito control, as well as the business end of running such a facility. In addition, he created the first nature trails and worked with agricultural students to plant trees on the property. Unfortunately, he was not able to carry out many of the plans he had for the center due to his untimely death. He was ahead of his time in realizing the value of environmental education and conservation. A pier later constructed by the Isaac Walton League was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Harkins. Former colleagues also credit Mr. Harkins with orchestrating the move of more than 1,000 people from the old Bel Air High School on Gordon Street to the new one on Kenmore Avenue, and having classes back in session within one hour of entering the building! He was principal at the time, seeing the school through the difficult days of World War II. When he died, Mr. Harkins had completed the course work for his PhD and was conducting research for his dissertation on outdoor education.
In October 2000, the Harford County Public School System began an Educator Hall of Fame program in which the Board of Education of Harford County inducts one member into the “Hall” each month during the school year. Former Harford County Public School educators who have provided at least 20 years of extraordinary service to students and staff in the school system are considered for nomination by the Harford County Retired School Personnel Association (HCRSPA). The nominee is prominently featured on the Harford County Public School website, www.hcps.org. The nominee (or his/her family in case the nominee is deceased or unavailable) is also honored at a subsequent Board of Education meeting where he/she is presented with a plaque as well as a Board certificate and certificates from County and State government officials.
The Superintendent recommends the Board of Education of Harford County officially posthumously induct Mr. Charles E. Harkins into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame as its 158th member in recognition of his 11 years of extraordinary service to the students, staff and community of the Harford County Public Schools as an administrator and supervisor.