Charles Fleming: 'I've had this opportunity of marrying two real passions that I have'
Teacher, Psychology, Sociology, Choir
Monterey High School
“At the end of the day, we have the opportunity of influencing the next generation, preparing the next generation. I love that I am given the opportunity to make my mark in that way at Monterey High School as a part of MPUSD,” said Monterey High School teacher and choir director Charles Fleming.
Fleming is a South Bay transplant, who graduated from Gunderson High School. Teaching is a bit of a second career for him. He dabbled in environmental design, apprenticed as a designer and even worked in the building industry.
Fleming earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor in Waco, Texas and double majored in vocal performance. He earned a master's degree from USC in teaching, with an emphasis in social science and even earned a second credential in music. While he did many things in between, he kept gravitating back toward the classroom dynamic.
“Teaching is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done,” he says.
“One of the reasons why I love teaching at Monterey High is because I feel like I've had this opportunity of marrying two real passions that I have,” said Fleming, who teaches psychology, sociology and choir.
“When I interviewed to teach at Monterey High, it was actually for a social science position and I had done a little homework and Monterey High did not have a vocal arts program. I thought maybe I would be allowed to go some place where I could teach both things that I love in one place and that’s what I do here,” he says.
If it wasn't for him, Monterey High would not have a choir or music program. Fleming is credited with growing the vocal program at MHS. What began as a very organic bell schedule class has blossomed into a zero hour extracurricular program due to a pent up demand.
An early riser, he created a program where Treble Makers (treble ensemble), Low Voltage (base ensemble) and Chamber Singers (advanced mixed ensemble), and Big Song & Dance (show choir) can come together to sing. He also supports students who want to become better vocalists in a 1:1 solo artist program.
“The vocal arts community at Monterey High is a life-giving group. I can’t think of a nicer collection of students. They seem to have a real positivity about life and what they want to explore. I find that as much as I want to contribute to that life giving energy, they are huge reciprocators. There is a synergy that happens in our music program and it makes getting up early very easy,” said Fleming.
Fleming says he loves working for MHS because of the support he gets from school staff.
“I can’t think of an example of a time where I have felt so universally supported and encouraged. The administrative team at Monterey High could not be more supportive of me as an educator and could not be more enthusiastic of what we are doing in the development of this program; that goes a long way for me," Fleming said.
He also recognizes the support he gets from district leaders.
"Even beyond Monterey High, I have felt that from MPUSD in terms of the District Office and the enthusiasm and support that comes from the District Office. I feel that is very, very special. It’s very unique. I realize all the more what a very, very special and unique circumstance that I get to enjoy at MPUSD and Monterey High,” Fleming said.