Dr. Tommie Barber was teaching eighth grade students when several co-workers expressed enjoyment in their experiences at Argosy University, Sarasota. That’s when she decided to take a closer look at the advanced degree programs they offer. “It’s a good set-up with online courses and on-campus interaction,” Tommie said, “That definitely made it easier.”
She now holds two degrees from the Sarasota Campus: a Specialist Degree and a Doctoral Degree, both in Educational Leadership. She currently serves as the Director of Special Projects in the Seminole School District in Georgia. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating many varied activities for the staff and students throughout the district.
As staff development coordinator, Dr. Barber provides classes and workshops to expand teacher knowledge and skills. She also manages scheduling and procedures for all standardized testing. Her work with students covers a broad spectrum, from ensuring that migrant students receive the help they need to overcome language barriers to developing provisions for students who are struggling with schoolwork and for those with medical disabilities. “My job takes me to every school in the district,” Dr. Barber said. “I love the interaction with all the kids from K through 12.”
Earlier this year, she was selected to present at the sixth Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education that took place in Waikiki last January. She presented findings from her dissertation research in which she examined differences in academic achievement and attendance of students who attend year-round schools as compared to students who attend schools on a traditional school calendar.
Overall, Dr. Barber found that there was no specific difference in outcomes for students attending schools using the traditional calendar versus schools operating on a year-round format. “I had never presented before on this level. It was a big step,” said Dr. Barber. “It’s an experience I will never forget. I feel as though the research I’ve done will be beneficial to others, and additional work can be done in relation to it.” The conference proved to be valuable for establishing professional contacts, and Dr. Barber has been invited back to present again.
In addition to her professional success, Dr. Barber is experiencing success in her personal life as well. Late last year, she married Ervin Barber, a move that did not require the usual name change on her driver’s license and other legal documents!