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Alumni News

School of Education presents annual alumni awards

Alumni Achievement Award
Barnett Wayne Berry

Those who want to improve student achievement tend to focus on issues such as testing and accountability, standards, vouchers, charter schools, and so on. Yet, both research and common sense attest to the importance of teacher quality. For more than two decades, improving the quality of educators has been at the core of the work of Barnett Wayne Berry.

Fifteen years after completing his Ph.D. in education at Carolina, Barnett founded the Center for Teaching Quality in 1999. Building on his doctoral interest in the scholarship of teaching, he has steadfastly advocated for research, policy, and practices to advance the profession of teaching.

Barnett created the Center’s Teacher Leaders Network to amplify the voices of master educators in the debate about the future of the profession. Few educators can match his innovative vision, his knowledge of both policy and practice, and his commitment to teachers and teaching.

As an advocate for educators in the policy arena, Barnett has published extensively on teacher quality throughout his career. He recognizes that the knowledge and understanding teachers develop in the classroom as well as the opportunities they have to collaborate in improving practice are essential to advancing the profession. He has taken the position that teachers should be the highest-paid professionals in every school district. He has helped policymakers and educators better understand the strong connection between teacher working conditions, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement.

Recently, through the Leadership Center for Mathematics and Science Teachers, Barnett has worked with the School of Education to develop the capabilities and leadership among mathematics and science teachers in under-resourced communities with the goal of assisting them in achieving National Board Certification. Earlier in his career, he was a leader in developing and implementing the recommendations of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.   

In this work, Barnett has displayed a rare ability to sift through the research and translate it into sensible policy recommendations that he then advocates in a range of public forums.

While fiercely devoted to teachers and teaching, he is also imminently approachable and warm to everyone regardless of professional status.  Although extremely well-versed in the professional literature and policy analysis, he truly leads with his heart.  And his heart – that part of it not devoted to his family and friends – is deeply committed to ensuring that every child in the country has a knowledgeable, skillful, and caring teacher.

For his outstanding leadership in enhancing teaching quality and his unyielding commitment to the improvement of teaching and learning, we honor Barnett Wayne Berry with the Alumni Achievement Award.