The Illustrous Career of Mrs. Barbara Carter
April 26, 2023
With the end of the school year, Christ Church Episcopal School will be losing an integral part of its community. After a 52-year career, Mrs. Barbara Carter has decided to retire. Mrs. Carter has embodied the values of a true Cavalier for over half a century. She has remained by this school’s side through its ups and downs and has impacted thousands of high school students. Any Christ Church alumnus who has taken her class has a unique story to tell about Mrs. Carter.
As a child, Mrs. Carter always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. “My friends and I used to play school together and I was always the teacher.” She added that women in her day had three career options; they could either be a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher and she “didn’t want to be either of the first two.” Her decision to be a teacher has changed the lives of countless CCES students.
Throughout Mrs. Carter’s long teaching career, she has taken on numerous roles throughout the school. When she first started at CCES, she was the freshman English teacher but when AP English classes were offered, she took on the responsibility of teaching AP Literature. For the last couple decades, Mrs. Carter’s Lit class has performed phenomenally on the AP exam which highlights her ability as a teacher. On top of teaching English, for a number of years, Mrs. Carter was the English Department chair. In this role, she was in charge of coordinating grade-wide learning, she worked with all English teachers on professional development, etc. During this time period, the English department rose to new levels of success and many students valued the time they spent with Mrs. Carter.
In 1994 and 1995, Carter Shaw (mother of the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Cavalier, senior Tom Lowrance), had Mrs. Carter for two years in high school. Even to this day, she remembers her time in the classroom with Mrs. Carter and the lessons that she enforced upon her students. “The vocabulary and writing skills I developed in her class have been invaluable to me throughout my career,” she said. “Her commitment to developing strong writers with an appreciation for great literature has had a significant impact on so many CCES students, and her dedication to the school for 52 years is impressive by any measure.”
Current CCES teacher Mrs. Carmicheal also had Mrs. Carter as a teacher, and is very grateful to be able to work with her as she finishes her career. “I really love teaching at the same school as some of my old teachers, like Mrs. Carter. I took her classes during my 11th and 12th-grade years, and I also had her over the summer for an SAT prep class.”
Mrs. Carmicheal is also appreciative of Mrs. Carter’s help in the English department, saying she uses some of the things Mrs. Carter taught her to teach her classes today. “Without a doubt, she helped me become a stronger writer. I was an English major and previously taught English, so she definitely had some influence on my educational and career path.” Mrs. Carter’s legacy has not only affected what Christ Church students learn, but has also impacted the lessons that teachers who took her class bring with them into their teaching careers.
In addition to her roles in the English department, Mrs. Carter has thrived in other responsibilities. For a number of years, Mrs. Carter was the cheerleading coach. This was back in the ‘80s and was when the team was in their prime. During her tenure as the coach, she refused to drive the bus so she asked her friend and former CCES science teacher, Mr. Reggie Titmus, to drive for the team. According to many sources, the team rarely showed up on time to events but they always had a great time. Another responsibility Mrs. Carter took on was being in charge of parking at the school. She went from teaching English full-time to running the parking lot. It is hard to imagine Mrs. Carter outside telling cars where to go but that parking lot was definitely efficient.
Some say that students have not gotten the true Christ Church experience if they have not taken an English class with Mrs. Carter. Her traditional teaching style embodies the values that the school aims to instill in its community, and her care for the well-being of her students is something that will be missed in the coming school years. Current AP Literature student Maggie Rogers said, “Mrs. Carter is a loving teacher that prioritizes the best interests of her students. Every single day, she energetically engages with them and shares her extensive wisdom.”
Since 1972, when Mrs. Carter first came to Christ Church, she has done her best to make the school a better place. With all of the roles she has taken on within the community, one stands out beyond the rest. Early in her career, Mrs. Carter created Senior Thesis. This unique project has become one of the standout features of our school, offering the eldest students of the community the opportunity to intensively study a topic of their choosing before graduating. According to Mr. Clarke, the Senior Thesis was almost killed because “there were too many kids and not enough mentors.” However, Mrs. Carter, along with some parents, “convinced the administration to keep the thesis in place because it is a valuable learning experience.” While this project has undergone many changes (especially in the past year becoming Senior Capstone), the original idea is still credited with Mrs. Carter.
Mr. Wes Clarke, the Head of the Upper School, has worked with Mrs. Carter for over a decade now. He recognizes how Mrs. Carter has “been involved in so many things, and took on anything that was presented to her.” He says that the reason Mrs. Carter works harder than anyone else is because she “cares a lot about the school and always wants to do things right.”