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Ron Barry, MSSL ’12, considers himself a lifelong learner.

While teaching high school social studies, beginning in 2005 at St. Thomas Aquinas in Overland Park and then in the Valley Center school district near Wichita, Barry continued to seek new methods and trends to strengthen his work in the classroom. In 2008, he earned his Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Rockhurst University.

After years of teaching, Barry knew he was ready for a leadership role, and he began to search for a program that would help him reach his goals. During his search, he kept hearing rave reviews from colleagues about Baker’s Master of Science in School Leadership.

“I knew administrators in the area that had gone through the program,” Barry said. “They spoke highly of Baker and what it had to offer.”

Barry entered Baker’s MSSL program on the Wichita campus in 2011. By taking courses in Wichita, where he was teaching, he was able to learn from colleagues in his district, which he found valuable.

“I knew that there were numerous superintendents and principals teaching the courses,” he said. “This encouraged me in that I knew there was real-life application to what I was learning. It also provided me the opportunity to network with colleagues that I still am in contact with today.”

Balancing school work and a young family wasn’t easy. Barry and his wife, Amy, have two young kids, and family is important to them. So Barry carefully planned his schedule to make the most of his time both in and outside of the classroom.

“I think you have to focus on organization and priorities to be successful with graduate school and work,” Barry said. “Ultimately you will gain what you want from this experience. There is an opportunity to set yourself up for success by focusing on the readings, assignments, projects, and applying it to your current or future position.”

Since his graduation in 2012, Barry’s career in administration has taken off. He has worked as a high school assistant principal and athletic director and a middle school assistant principal and athletic director, and he was recently named the principal of Halstead Middle School in the Halstead-Bentley school district, which is near Wichita. He will also be taking over the superintendent role for the Halstead Bentley school district starting July 1.

“Baker provided the opportunity to use what we learned from our professors and classes and apply that knowledge in our schools or future positions,” he said. “It prepared me to step into an administrative role and truly have an impact from day one.”

Barry enjoyed his Baker experience so much that he enrolled in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (PK-12) program. He will graduate in December 2019.

“I have been able to grow my professional learning network and lean on those individuals for guidance, support, and professional dialogue,” he said.

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