Shanette Barnes is a sixth, seventh and eighth grade ELA interventionist at Albert Cammon Middle School. This coming school year will mark her 27th year of teaching – with nearly all of them being with St. Charles Parish Public Schools.
“I did two years in Orleans Parish, but the last 25 years have been at Cammon,” Barnes said. “I was really young and didn’t know much about St. Charles, but I knew it was a very progressive district and I was intrigued by it. I wasn’t satisfied with the professional learning and development in Orleans. I thought, ‘Let me try my hand at it … and I fell in love.’”
Barnes started out as a 7th grade ELA teacher and did that for a number of years before teaching 8th grade. This year will be her third as an interventionist.
“I like the fact that I get to meet kids of all grade levels,” she said of her current role. “I love that my classes are really small and I can really build a relationship with my kids. They look to me as a mother figure. When you’re down I can’t tell in a class of 30 … that may be difficult, but with intervention we have more one on one time to strengthen skills.”
ACM Principal LaSonn Porter said Barnes is well-respected and admired by her colleagues and students.
“Her heart bleeds royal blue and white,” Porter said. “She maintains an active role in mentoring and supporting our students and teachers. She is our New Teacher Contact, and she supports our new teachers in many capacities throughout the school year including New Teacher Orientation and hosting monthly after-school new teacher support meetings. Ms. Barnes is always up to a challenge.”
Barnes also serves as the school’s SBLC Chairperson. In this role, she takes a hands-on approach to learning new concepts while at the same time supporting both teachers and students with students’ needs.
“She has sponsored many after-school activities throughout her extensive teaching career at ACM to include currently cosponsoring our new Pirettes Dance Team,” Porter said. “Ms. Barnes is always striving to make ACM the best it can be.”
Barnes said she sort of reluctantly made the move to help with the dance team, but that she couldn’t say no to a former student.
“When I was young I did cheerleading and I did what we call the pep squad,” she said. “I did that for a number of years. The girl who actually started the dance team at Cammon… she was a former student of mine. I taught her 8th grade ELA. She has now taken my former classroom and we have a really close bond. I just think it’s so cute … my former student in my former classroom. I just love to see her thrive.”
When that former student, Aunja Fenroy, asked Barnes to help with the squad, she said she couldn’t say no.
“The goal is for them to eventually compete,” Barnes said. “We’re excited. I’m just there to offer support. I told Aunja, ‘For you and for the kids I will.’ I’ve had a ball with it.”
Barnes will receive a $25 gift card to Birdies.