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RIC Alumnus Michael Barnes Named 2014 Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year



Rhode Island College alumnus Michael Barnes, superintendent of the Foster-Glocester school district, has been named the 2014 Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year.

Barnes’ selection, by the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association, is in recognition of his achievement in school district leadership, dedication to the education of all children, commitment to the community and service to the association.

“It is an honor as well as humbling to be recognized by your peers,” Barnes said. “I have the pleasure of working with talented administrators, capable teachers and very competent support staff. My success and the success of the district really has been the reflection of a lot of people doing a lot of good work.”

Barnes earned his bachelor’s degree at Rhode Island College in 1988 in science technology education and his master’s at RIC in 1989 in education industrial technology. He also holds a doctorate from the University of Connecticut.

“The reason I went into education is that I had two teachers at Cumberland High School, one in math and one in architecture and drafting, that had a great impact on me,” Barnes said. “My career path is a direct reflection of the support and guidance those two teachers provided me. It was their mentorship that directed me.”

Barnes has served as superintendent in the Foster-Glocester district since 2008. He was the district’s assistant superintendent from 2005 to 2008.

Prior to his administrative positions, Barnes was a faculty member at the Ponaganset Middle/High School, where he taught pre-engineering, computer drafting, robotics and aerospace engineering.

“I wanted a place where mathematics and science came to life,” Barnes said. “The practical applications of math and science were where I really saw profound connections in my students.”

Barnes also served at the Rhode Island Department of Education as a fellow in the areas of high school reform and school accountability for learning and teaching. In recognizing Barnes, the Rhode Island Superintendents’ Association lauded the “stability” and “focus” his leadership has brought to the district as well as his active role in educational policy development and implementation.

“I very much loved and respected work as a teacher,” Barnes said. “My desire to go into administration was to be able to work with the teachers to reshape the way our public schools were working to create opportunities for as many students as possible.”

Barnes will be honored by the American Association of School Administrators at the National Conference on Education in February 2014 in Nashville, Tenn.

Barnes, 49, lives in Lincoln with his wife, Susan, Rhode Island College ‘90 and ‘94 and their two children, Julia and Jonathan.