Five Questions with Science Hill Principal Todd Barnett

Brandon Paykamian • Jan 29, 2019 at 10:12 PM

After former Science Hill High School principal Melanie Riden-Bacon set out to take the helm at Topper Academy, Todd Barnett took the position in 2018 to put more than 20 years of local education experience into practice as a principal.

Barnett began as a high school math teacher in Carter County Schools and then joined the math department at Science Hill High School in 1998. After that, he worked as an assistant vice principal from 2003 up until becoming principal.

On Monday, Barnett spoke to the Press to tell us a bit more about himself and some of his opinions on local education.

Barnett briefly: 

Favorite Local Restaurant: “Anywhere I can get a good steak.” 

Hobbies: Traveling, “especially in the western United States,” and keeping up with college basketball and football. 

Favorite Books: “Into Thin Air” and “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

Pet Peeves: “Don’t really have pet peeves.” 

What’s your favorite aspect of being a principal?

The opportunities I have on a daily basis to witness achievement and success of others is especially gratifying. We have about 2,400 staff and students on our campus, and I am fortunate to be able to see success from a variety of perspectives. I would also say that a favorite part of the job is the opportunity to interact with students and staff from so many different backgrounds. I learn something new about someone on our campus just about every day.

What makes this school system unique?

I think we are fortunate to be a one high school system and that all students in Johnson City ultimately end up on one campus. I feel strongly that having students from a wide variety of backgrounds come together on our campus for four years helps to more fully develop them as young men and women, which then prepares them for life after high school.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing education today?

As technology becomes more prevalent throughout our daily lives, how we use technology effectively on a regular basis in the classroom is evolving as a significant challenge. I think it’s important to remember that the single most important factor in the successful education of a student is the classroom teacher. At the end of the day, the teacher is the individual who will have the most impact on the student. We are very fortunate to have abundant access to technology and highly motivated and talented teachers here at Science Hill. I can regularly observe how our teachers’ energy and passion for their students and their subject matter allows our technology to be maximized.

Who is your favorite historical figure or one you take inspiration from?

I don’t know that it could be really one or a few. Over the course of my career, I’ve tried to pick up a little from a wide variety of people who have had an impact on me.

What is your favorite TV show?

By far, Andy Griffith. Trying to get my grandson to watch, but he’s just not there yet. Shark Tank would be high on the list of the more modern TV shows.

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