Tag Archives: John Barry

Aurora and Other Districts Should Share More Wealth with Charter Schools

Last week I took a look at the work of Aurora Public Schools’ “outside-the-box” superintendent John Barry, and concluded: Of course, changing the leadership model isn’t the only way to fix public schools. There are limits to the sort of “top-down” approach. More “bottom-up” reform that decentralizes authority and empowers parents with school choice and accountability is essential. But there’s also something to be said for school boards working to find more leaders like John Barry. There was more to the point about the “bottom-up” approach than I realized. John Barry is doing a lot of good things from a reform perspective, but as Alan Gottlieb writes today over at EdNews Colorado, it appears that he’s missing the most important thing: But one area where Barry’s forward-thinking regime has been slow to see the light is on charter schools. Last night, the Aurora school board decided to asked voters to approve a $215 million bond issue this fall. From that amount, the district is ofering [sic] a total of $750,000 to the district’s six charter schools. That’s a grand total of one third of one percent of the proceeds. Not exactly generous. Still, better than Denver, Adams 12 and Douglas, […]


John Barry's Aurora Success Makes Case for Non-Traditional Leadership

It’s hard to argue against the idea that more fresh blood is needed in our public education system. We could do with more school and district leaders who didn’t necessarily rise through the ranks of the teachers union or education bureaucracy who can bring valuable outside skills and perspectives to the challenges faced. Education News Colorado today highlights such a success story in the Denver metropolitan area: Aurora Public Schools raised more than a few eyebrows two years ago when the board of education selected John Barry, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, to take over as superintendent of the state’s third-largest school district. “We were definitely taking a chance,” says Aurora school board chairman Matt Clark. “He was clearly a non-traditional candidate, coming from the military. But we were looking for someone who understood what it took to turn an institution around.” And turn it did. Barry began introducing changes in the way Aurora educates its 32,000 students at a breakneck pace. New curricula. New strategic plan . New coaching method for teachers. New standardized tests . New summer school programs . The launch of a new pilot school — the first of several. New emphasis on truancy […]