Charles is an advocate, educator and decision maker
Rooted in service, committed to community
The son of a retired postal worker and police officer turned minister, Charles McCullough is an energetic leader dedicated to helping people and uplifting underserved communities through his faith, integrity, and a wealth of experience in law and public policy at local, national, and international levels.
Charles’ commitment to public service and representing all voices started at an early age in his elementary school student council. By high school he had a seat on the local Board of Education. While president of the student government at Pepperdine University, where he received a degree in History, Charles successfully fought for the university’s recognition of the MLK holiday.
After graduation Charles continued to be a voice of inclusion on multiple boards and commissions in education, finance, and social services. As a community activist, Charles is unafraid to make sure government reflects community values; participating in the Women’s March as well as the marches for Science, Climate Change, Equality/Pride, Health Care, and Voting Rights.
Charles earned a Master’s in Higher Education, as well as a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Boston College. He is licensed to practice law in Washington DC and nationally certified as an Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator and Final Agency Decision writer.
He has lived in the Washington metropolitan area for over 30 years, residing in South Arlington for more than 10 years.
Working to improve government and build collaborations
A small business owner, Charles’ joint passions for improving government operations and developing international collaborations between government and business led him to start his own consulting firm, focusing on organizational management and international strategic planning for nonprofits.
Prior to this, Charles served at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC in a number of capacities. As Director of the Australian National University office, he led efforts to identify and foster international collaborations with government agencies and companies specializing in aerospace and green technologies. While Deputy Director (Education), he represented Australia’s education department by facilitating inter-governmental policy dialogues that identified best practices to increase learning and achievement for school-aged children.
A thoughtful decision maker with extensive public engagement and complex project management experience, Charles has also held a variety of positions at organizations engaged in national and local activism. He was Special Assistant and Counsel to the President of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where he served as in-house legal counsel and led the initial development of the National Board Certification for Principals. As an attorney, he handled special education cases for the District of Columbia Public Schools and served as a law clerk to Harvard University and the General Services Administration.
Of the many roles and responsibilities he’s had, most memorable to Charles was serving as a para-educator for K-2nd grade students at his former elementary school. In this role Charles learned that small class size, teachers given sufficient resources to teach, and school leaders empowered to work with our communities do more to improve student learning and close the achievement gap than any battery of state testing.
A lifetime of service to families and underserved communities
While still in high school Charles was elected by 45,000 voters to serve as the Student Member on the Montgomery County, Maryland, Board of Education, giving him a binding vote on policy and curriculum matters for the system’s 179 public schools. Even at this age, Charles advocated for student learning and health, leading his adult counterparts to update the math curriculum, and restore middle school sports during a fiscally austere period.
Charles was also a champion for faculty inclusion, passing a resolution to revise the school employee equal employment anti-discrimination policy to include “sexual orientation.” Together with the School Board, Charles was also able to work with the community to approve the construction of a new high school and renovation of several other facilities, providing students with cost-effective and state-of-the-art facilities that foster learning.
As the financial crisis consumed the nation, Charles’ interest in economic empowerment led him to run for the US Postal Service Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. Reelected three times by the 22,000 member organization, he served on the board in several positions, including as Chair. During his eight years on the board, he advocated for establishing a robust e-banking platform, financial literacy programs, and new loan products—such as fair student loan refinancing— to address the unique needs of postal employees and their families.
Always concerned for the well-being of families and those looking to better a tough living situation, Charles volunteered his time in a number of locations and capacities including: Arbitrator for DC Lawyer/Client fee disputes, Massachusetts Foster Care Review Board member, and YWCA GED instructor. In Arlington, Charles served the county as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Commission and the schools as an at-large member of the South Arlington Working Group.
Charles is running for Arlington County Board to continue this commitment to service and ensure the Board puts People First.