The students have impressed him overall with the expectations they have of themselves.
“They are so intrinsically motivated to do well they don’t have to have somebody cracking the whip on them. They just do it,” Barnes said.
He attended the Ohio State University campus in Lima, holding both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university. He also has done administrative course work through the University of Dayton.
When he entered OSU, Barnes hadn’t decided on a career. He found his love while participating in an early experience program while attending the college. He was placed in a Lima fifth-grade classroom where he the chance to work with special-needs students. That’s when he realized what he wanted to do.
At Sidney he taught first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth grades before becoming an assistant principal at Sidney High School for one year and then three years as assistant principal at the Sidney Middle School. He worked at the Sidney schools with Diane Voress, the new principal at the middle school in Tipp City.
Barnes was interested in the Tipp City position because it gave him the opportunity to be an academic/instructional leader. As an assistant principal his role was more management working on a student level on behavior and other issues.
“It was time for me to have my own building. I thought the time was right,” he said.
He was at the beach in Florida when the Tipp City schools called for an interview. His wife suggested they return early to Ohio for the in-person interview instead of the virtual option. She said he “wasn’t good at virtual,” Barnes said. “We came back, and the rest is history.”
Among his initial goals at Tipp City is working with teachers to make sure they understand what is expected of them with a new evaluation system in place. “I very much am a person that believes we pick one thing and we get good at it. We get really good at it, and then try something else,” Barnes said. “I am not going to get buy-in if I try to do too much.”
His wife, Jamie, also is in education. She works with special-needs students in the Vandalia Butler schools. They have four children ranging in age from 16 to 30.