Pres. Obama recognizes Barron as top educator
by REBECCA LEFTWICH
Smokey Road Middle School Principal Laurie Barron, National Middle School Principal of the Year, was among outstanding educators from across the nation recognized in a White House Rose Garden ceremony Tuesday by President Barack Obama.
Barron also was invited to meet one-on-one with the president in the Oval Office.
“It was an honor and an experience I will never forget,” said Barron, whose husband, Daniel, was on hand to witness the Rose Garden ceremony honoring his wife. “And to be surrounded by state teachers of the year from across the country during the recognition was very humbling, as I am a firm believer that classroom teachers are the true heroes in education.”
At a Smokey Road assembly last August, Coweta County Superintendent Steve Barker surprised Barron with the announcement that she had been selected NASSP/MetLife National Middle School Principal of the Year.
Barron said the honor has provided her with “incredible opportunities” like learning and sharing with colleagues across the country and attending Obama’s inauguration and an inaugural ball.
“It is difficult to express what this year has meant to me,” Barron said. “None of the recognitions our school has received would have been possible without the Smokey Road faculty, staff, and students who made this honor possible, our board of education and central office staff who have always supported our innovations to improve student achievement, our business partners and community who are so generous to our students, my colleagues across the county, state, and nation who have inspired me to grow and learn, and my family who often sacrifices so much to allow me to do what I love each day.
“I will always remember that our faculty and staff’s respect for and belief in students, drive for excellence, passion for teaching, and desire to serve others is what has allowed me to enjoy this prestigious honor, and I am honored to represent our school, county, state, and nation in sharing and advocating for the best in public education,” she said.
“By far, the best part of this honor is that others throughout our state and nation have been able to see the high quality of education and high caliber of teaching in the Coweta County School System that is represented by Smokey Road Middle School,” Barron added. “I will never take for granted what this honor means and the role so many played in making it possible. I am truly grateful. Simply said, (Tuesday) was amazing.”
Barron is a National Board Certified educator with 17 years of experience working in education. She taught English at Newnan High School for six years before becoming an assistant principal at Arnall Middle School. She has been at Smokey Road since 2004.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia, her Master’s in Administration and Supervision from the State University of West Georgia, and her Specialist and Doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota.
Barron currently serves on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Partnership Council. She is also an active member of the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals, the Georgia and National Associations of Secondary School Principals, and recently served on the Governor’s Education Advisory Board for Principals.
Additionally, Barron received the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Outstanding Middle Level Educator Award and the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals Exemplary Leadership Award in 1999. That same year, she was named Newnan High School Teacher of the Year. In 2000 and 2001, she received the award for Newnan High School STAR Teacher.
Last year, she was named Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year prior to her selection on the national level. She was chosen from among middle school principals nominated by each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools.