Charles McKinney has been a Student Support Specialist at Franklin High School for nine years, working with kids who are close to dropping out due to problems outside or inside school. He also works with students on improving their attendance. McKinney is passionate about helping kids who are having a tough time. “He is a positive role model that I have known for more than 30 years and five years at Franklin, and is my second-cousin,” said Chris Frazier, principal of Franklin High School. Not only is McKinney good with students, but he has also built strong professional relationships with his colleagues, and is very supportive of people who work with him. Rubendario Navarrete has been a Student Support Specialist for almost a year and works alongside McKinney. He describes McKinney as “extremely welcoming and supportive.”
McKinney went to Wilson High School, which is located in Southwest Portland. McKinney then attended Oregon State University with a Division 1 basketball scholarship, where he became captain of the team and studied speech communications. During his freshman year in college he played with Gary Payton, an NBA Hall of Fame player and perhaps one of the best defensive point guards of all time. The two are still close friends today. In 1991, McKinney traveled to Amsterdam with the Pac-10 all-star team. “This trip was great, it was a great experience,” said McKinney. After college, McKinney played for the Harlem Comedy All Stars featuring Meadowlark Lemon, and he traveled all over the US.
McKinney appreciates Franklin’s culture, diversity, and new building. He brings wisdom and rich understanding to his community, and has the means to support the high school (Frazier). Navarrete also stated “McKinney has an ability to bring positive relationships with all the students.” McKinney looks forward to the end of each year, when the seniors face off against the teachers in a game of basketball during the assembly. He hopes one day to become a counselor.
Outside of school, McKinney spends a lot of time with his family, which includes his wife, two daughters, and son. His family is very athletic. His son is a 3-sport athlete, being involved with flag football, basketball and baseball. His middle child, Jaela, plays basketball for her high school’s basketball team, and her dad McKinney coaches her. His oldest daughter, Sierra, is a college student. She is currently majoring in English. McKinney is also a religious man, and is devoted to God. In the future, McKinney hopes to see change in people in this world, with everyone being treated equally and fairly, and racial equality and people of color being respected. McKinney believes that problem solving, advocacy, and empowerment can help students reach their full potential. McKinney loves working with his students and says, “Always believe in yourself and you will achieve life success.”