BCPS Principal wins prestigous award

Woodlawn, Md - Karen Barnes is Principal of Southwest Academy Magnet School for Science and Engineering in Woodlawn.  She is one of 60 Principals nationwide selected out of 800 to participate in a two year America Achieves Fellowship.

"I was excited that I would have the opportunity to communicate and work with educators from across the country on various practices, professional development and also having the opportunity to discuss how we are moving our school forward," said Karen Barnes, Principal Southwest Academy.

The Fellowship Program allows Barnes to share ideas, learn from experts, strengthen skills and advise policy makers.  Barnes is focusing on the impact of national policies on classroom instruction.

America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals selected Barnes because she stood out as an educator.

"She was able to come to the school and turn things around. She had some really great results here for students," said Kathleen Richardson, Program Director with America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals.

The Fellowship has made a difference for students.  Barnes and several teachers received a $5,000 grant from the Sharing the Dream Grant Program to foster regional, national and international relations.  The grant will finance several spring field trips including visiting Washington, DC and a multi cultural Festival.

"Our students benefit as a result of me having access to world class professional development and best practices that have been proven around the country," said Barnes.

Teachers and staff couldn't be more excited for Barnes.  They say it's a well deserved award for her leadership.

"She is a teacher, but also a student. She reminds us that everyday we have an opportunity to learn from each other and makes that available to us," said Claudia Johnson, Reading Department Chair.

Karen Barnes has been Principal at Southwest Academy for five years.  Barnes is also participating in the National Association of Elementary School Principals Mentor Certificate Program.

She also studied Educational Leadership at Harvard University.

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