KATHLEEN HILDRETH BARNES – CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION

Education is the key to success. It teaches people how to live a happy life while facing challenges and overcoming problems. No society can lead towards better change and development when it lacks education. It reduces poverty, creates employment opportunities, spreads essential knowledge, and builds a society in every manner. Education can improve one’s lifestyle and change the fate of a middle-class family. First, it reforms the individuals, then stabilizes families, and eventually develops the society. The importance of education is not limited to creating job opportunities. Instead, it empowers mindsets and allows individuals to dream big and think out of the box. Most educated youths aim to become entrepreneurs. They come up with creative ideas, fill the gap in the market, and become successful entrepreneurs through their products or services. These people do not think about failure; they just focus on their ideas and give 100% input to get the best output. It is what education does! It changes mindsets and enables people to make smart decisions at the right time. Therefore, it is considered the key to success. Uneducated people might not get constructive ideas as compared to educated individuals. Education develops critical thinking and the ability to work on productive ideas. Educators are the key people who work for the success of students and the development of society. A large number of educationalists work relentlessly to bring a better way of providing quality education. One prominent example comes from Kathleen Hildreth Barnes – an educational leader and former physical therapist.

The role of educational leaders plays a vital role in reforming the education system and teaching students through practical learning. These leaders are basically role models for students. Their mindset and practices can spread positivity in the students and empower youth to go for a better approach in life. Plus, an educational leader’s responsibility is to develop a vision for an institute and ensure that the entire system works to gain the same vision. The vision might be as vague as dreams, but a true leader creates a roadmap to achieve the goals and fulfill the vision of an educational institute through a quality learning atmosphere. As a result, educational organizations can grow to the next level of success and open more doors of opportunity for the students.

Society’s development and overall success depend on its youth. Educated youth create growth opportunities for themselves, their families, society, and the entire country. However, it is leaders’ responsibility to provide better and advanced learning opportunities for the youth. Learners today belong to a progressively more media-structured, multifaceted, and diverse society. However, they are also suffering from various issues, such as health, fitness, environmental issues, and population explosion. The educational leaders in the institutes need to teach students how they can utilize the latest technology to overcome global challenges. Dr. Kathleen Barnes is a passionate leader who works with a firm belief that educators have the power to change lives and society for the better.

On October 11, 1952, Barnes was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and lived in Monson. She spent her early years in Massachusetts until her family relocated to Old Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1962. Barnes’s educational background is based on physical therapy and educational leadership. She pursued both professions and contributed her services to both industries. Kathleen attended Old Saybrook Senior High School, where she completed her high-school studies. Later, she went to Endicott College, Massachusetts, to earn her A.A. in Liberal Arts. She completed her B.S in Physical Therapy in May 1976. Barnes is a born leader. Even in her college days, she was engaged in several activities. Barnes played a leadership role in student clubs and organizations in the college. Later, she pursued her M.S. in Physical Therapy in 1998 from the University of Indianapolis. After a decade of her Master’s, Dr. Barnes completed her Ph.D. In Arts and Sciences in 2009 from the Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Today, Dr. Barnes is a highly regarded leader in the field of student-centered education. She has contributed to higher education by taking on numerous responsibilities and roles, including interim president of Endicott College. She aims to promote Universal Design for Learning, accessibility, and equity for all. She is the true mentor of students and guides them to choose the right academic path and achieve their educational goals. She is well-known for her student retention, assessment, and curriculum/program design expertise. While working for more than two decades at Endicott College, she led the campus-wide retention efforts, increasing the 21% retention rate and 19% graduation rate. She has also taught several courses to students in their first year of college experience. The courses she taught were physical therapy, exercise science, athletic training, and special topics honors courses.

Kathleen joined Endicott College in January 1993, where she had a diversified career of 28 years based on teaching, advising, and leading. She also conducted the presidency role during her tenure in the college. Initially, she served in the college as the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education for the physical therapist assistant program. Later, she became the director of that program. She also worked as the Senior Vice President, Interim President, and Interim Provost in the College.

Dr. Barnes has published various research to contribute to the development of physical therapy. Her research in physical therapy ethics and legislation was recognized by the Federation of State Boards in Physical therapy.

She has earned various awards for her contribution to education and physical therapy. She received three Women of Impact & Bright Light Awards at Endicott College in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She has been four times recipient of the Service Award for Endicott College in 2003, 2008, 2013, and 2018. In 1998, she received Excellence in Teaching Award. She also received an outstanding service award for revising the model practice act for physical therapy. Currently, Dr. Kathleen Barnes is a member of the Registry, the Gold Standard for Interim Placements in Higher Education. Additionally, she is licensed to practice physical therapy in the states of Massachusetts and Maine.


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Veronica Thompson

Veronica is a part-time freelance writer and works as a music teacher in public school in Utah. Her love for music and reading has brought her to the blogosphere. She loves surprises and a happy-go-lucky type of woman.