Mrs. Barber: An Inspiration

Northgate English teacher Susan Barber chosen Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Barber: An Inspiration

Robyn Clarke, Editor

On May 2nd, Northgate Literature teacher Susan Barber was named Coweta County Teacher of the Year. The award was voted on by teachers of each school in Coweta County, and from there, each candidate submitted an essay and was interviewed by a select panel of educators. The panel selected their top three finalists for the award, and Mrs. Barber was determined to be the overall winner by a second panel consisting of educators from outside Coweta County.

For Mrs. Barber, being named Teacher of the Year was “a huge honor” and not one she takes lightly.  “[I]t gives me a platform to advocate not only for students in today’s society…. But also to advocate for teachers and teaching profession…. It will give me a chance to share some positives about the teaching profession,” she says. She has taught for fifteen years, nine of which have been spent at Northgate. Her favorite thing about teaching is “being around kids all day. It’s unpredictable and it’s fun; you never know what you’re going to get… I just think teenagers are fun.” Her hope is for each student she teaches to not only leave her classroom loving literature, but to be better readers and writers than they were when they came in.

Bo Heatherman, a student in Mrs. Barber’s AP Literature class, knows firsthand just how good a teacher Mrs. Barber is. He says she has been “a great advocate for (him) with the senior class officers and the (National Honor Society Officers)” and adds, “She goes beyond the classroom and beyond our school to share her ideas with teachers and students from all over the country. That commitment is what won her the award.”

Northgate principal Bill Harrison agrees, describing her as “one of those teachers that anyone would want their children to have… She understands students; she understands what makes them tick.” Her quality of instruction, he says, is what makes her a Teacher of the Year.

Fellow Literature teacher Stacy Gray spoke of Mrs. Barber’s passion for teaching. “She is always willing to explore new ways to present the long-standing classics, and she’s an innovator,” she says. Not only does Mrs. Barber go above and beyond for her students, but she’s always there for her coworkers as well. “She’s always willing to help and offer advice… Working with her is beneficial to me as a teacher,” she says. Mrs. Gray calls Mrs. Barber “well-deserving” of the award and hopes it leads to even bigger things for her.

A few of Mrs. Barber’s hobbies include reading, writing, being outdoors, and travelling. She reads “a variety of things”, including young adult books, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. Her voracious reading has contributed to her success as a writer: she has published numerous educational articles, a few educational books, and she maintains two blogs, one of which focuses on education; the other is personal. “Hard work takes you further than talent, or how smart you are… [i]f you just work hard over a long period of time, you see results from that,” she says of her accomplishments. Mrs. Barber has accomplished a lot during her career, and there is undoubtedly more success and amazing accomplishments for her in the future.

Brooke Barber, Mrs. Barber’s daughter and a junior at Northgate, says it means a lot to her that her mom received such an honor. She sums it up best: “My mom is a great Teacher of the Year because she’s really committed! She has a true passion for teaching English to high school students, and it shows through everything she does!”