After he was surprised with the announcement, Barry reportedly said, “Humbled and honored … I am honored to receive this award, but this is a district award for sure. You know the Heisman Trophy – it represents team more than the individual and that’s something that comes to mind on this award, too.”
Barry led his district through both the pandemic and the devastating Almeda Fire that left about one-third of the district’s students without homes.
“The exceptional way Brent dealt with the ongoing COVID pandemic made him an outstanding candidate for superintendent of the year – but it was his incredible leadership during one of the most terrifying events in the history of the state, the Almeda Fire, that showed Brent’s true strength of character,” OASE President Tim Sweeney, superintendent of the Coquille School District, said. “Brent led his district through the flames, smoke, terror, and shocking aftermath of the tragedy. He stood side-by-side with his students, families, staff, and community and ensured every student in his district had an opportunity to learn. Students from the Phoenix-Talent School District were displaced and spread across the length of the Rogue Valley, but it did not matter where a student was located; Brent and his team found a way to meet not only their educational needs, but all the needs that his suddenly homeless families faced. Truly, Brent is exceedingly worthy of this honor and we congratulate him on his amazing leadership.”
“Superintendent Brent Barry is a steady, calm, and compassionate leader who builds resiliency in students, staff, families, and the community,” said Southern Oregon ESD Superintendent Scott Beveridge. “At a time when 30% of students were displaced by wildfire overnight in the midst of the impact from COVID 19, Brent offered PTSD to serve as a pillar for coordinating emergency community resources, while supporting families’ social-emotional health, and students’ academic success.”
“Through the challenges faced over the last school year, Brent Barry has led our district with honor, clarity and calmness,” said assistant superintendent Tiffanie Lambert, who nominated Barry for the award. “The pandemic and wildfire have impacted our Latinx communities disproportionately, and Brent continues to speak up for our unheard patrons. He continues to keep the principles of equity in the forefront and works actively to remove linguistic and accessibility barriers.”
The award will be for 2022’s Oregon Superintendent of the year and Barry will be in the running for the National Superintendent of the Year award from the American Association of School Administrators.