story by Claire Miller
When he was growing up, Charles Hight enjoyed his history classes in school but didn’t see himself becoming an educator.
Instead, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business finance and worked at Delta Air Lines in Atlanta for 11 years.
“I was making a good life working for Delta while enjoying the great travel benefits, but my growing passion for education continued to intensify as I became increasingly interested in historical studies,” Hight said. “I believe history and social studies are the most important tools in our educational system to prepare our future leaders to lead a diverse society.”
Hight earned his master’s in Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development in 2004 and spent 10 years as a history teacher in Atlanta Public Schools and Paulding County Schools before returning to the university in 2015 to begin his doctorate in teaching and learning with a concentration in social studies education.
His research focuses primarily on Rachel Davis DuBois, an educator who focused her work on intercultural education. Hight and CEHD Professor Chara Bohan co-authored an article on DuBois that was published in Vitae Scholasticae and he focused his dissertation on DuBois’s work, which he believes has implications for today’s political and cultural climate.
“I want people who read my dissertation to come away with an understanding that the fight against racism and anti-immigrant bias, prejudice and fear is ongoing and has been an issue since our country’s birth,” said Hight, who is now working as an assistant principal at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County, Ga. “Also, I want readers to contemplate starting and supporting intercultural education and group conversation methods in their school districts to combat discrimination and prejudice against ethnic, religious and racial differences.”
Hight is graduating this semester alongside his daughter, Bethany, who has earned a master’s degree from Georgia State’s School of Public Health.
Though they didn’t share any classes together and weren’t always on campus at the same time, Hight and his daughter still supported one another as they finished their academic journeys.
“We often had many conversations about our studies and encouraged each other to finish strong so that we could graduate together,” he said. “Georgia State has truly had a positive impact and has been an integral part of my family.”