OPDC’s Beatrice Charles has retired after 52 years of teaching and inspiring Pittsburgh youth. “Ms Bea,” an Oakland resident, has mentored and educated our School 2 Career students towards academic and professional success since 2010.
Growing up, Ms. Bea dreamed of singing on Broadway, but soon realized her passion for teaching. Throughout her career, she taught English to 7th-12th grade students at Fifth Avenue High School, Baxter Middle School, Westinghouse High School, and Taylor Allderdice High School, the latter at which she taught for 21 years.
“Teaching was an interesting life. I met students from all over the world – South Africa, Germany, Afghanistan. I loved meeting so many kids with such different perspectives,” she reminisces.
In 2001, Ms. Bea retired to spend time with her late husband. Then, in 2010, her former student—and the current School 2 Career Program Director—Karla Stallworth, approached her about a job. She was hesitant about coming out of retirement, but her neighbor, the late JoAnn Fountain, persuaded her. Ms. Bea still remembers the post-it Ms. Fountain left her:
“Bea, this [job] would be perfect for you.”
For the next seven years, Ms. Bea was an instrumental part of the OPDC team. She helped students develop study skills, as well as communication and presentation skills. She also administered and evaluated career assessments to all new School 2 Career students and provided SAT reading and writing preparation.
“I love teaching and I love my students. I look forward to returning to School 2 Career as a volunteer,” she said. She will also continue to perform in the Heritage Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh.
Tyra Galloway, a 12th grade S2C student from Pittsburgh CAPA, remarks, “Ms. Bea has been such an inspirational figure in my life. She has helped me improve as both a student and a person. Even though she is not here with us every day, I know that she will always be there for me.”
OPDC thanks Ms. Bea for her many years of service, and we wish her the best in this next chapter of her life.
OPDC is currently hiring an education specialist to coordinate tutoring and academic support for School 2 Career students. Click here to apply or to learn more about the position.