Dr. Karen Barber
Superintendent, Santa Rosa County School District
Barber earned her Ed.D. Curriculum & Instruction from UWF. She has more than 30 years of experience in education. Prior to assuming the role of superintendent, Barber was the director of federal programs at Santa Rosa County Public Schools. Barber has previously served as principal at Chumuckla Elementary School, assistant principal at East Milton Elementary, Holley Navarre Middle School and T.R. Jackson, and as an ESE teacher at Navarre High School.
What motivated you to pursue a career in the education field?
I was the oldest of six children and my mom and dad were foster parents. When I was 10 years old I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I would sit at the kitchen table and help teach one of my foster sisters who stayed with us. I knew from then, I wanted to be a teacher.
You were sworn into the position of superintendent in November 2020. What plans do you have for the Santa Rosa County School District?
Our goal in Santa Rosa is to love, educate and prepare students for a successful future. We’re expanding career academies to increase the number of wonderful people going into education. We have also expanded the use of Accellitrain, which allows us to increase courses that we are able to offer. In addition, I hired a new public information outreach family officer to provide a greater outreach to families in various ways including a new multimedia newsletter. We’ve taken a huge focus on STEM and STEAM for our students and we have developed a council.
Any words of advice for UWF students pursuing a similar career path?
This career is very fulfilling. You are positively impacting students’ lives forever and there are so many benefits to that. It’s a very exciting time for educators. We are motivated and our students are excelling, even amidst the pandemic. UWF provided me with many of the skills and knowledge and partnerships that I’ve used to this day when I earned my doctorate and I have really appreciated that over the years.