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Meet Your Government: Former state educator seeks an in-depth look

POSTED: October 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
/For The Times

Eloise Barron

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Parents of Hall County students probably don’t know Eloise Barron, but she’s the one who directed the implementation of the state curriculum all Georgia kids study every day.

Following a 27-year career with the state Department of Education, Barron has settled in Gainesville and serves as the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Hall County schools. Two years ago she left her job as the state director of curriculum and instruction to take a hands-on position as a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker for the county’s school system.

"It was an opportunity for me to work closely with the people who make it happen," Barron said. "The people who make it happen are teachers, principals, parents and especially kids. When you’re in Atlanta, you’re a long way from seeing that happen."

As state director of curriculum and instruction, Barron worked with state schools
Superintendent Kathy Cox and others in crafting the new Georgia Performance Standards. The new state curriculum standards have been phased in to Georgia schools during the past three years, Barron said.

The Georgia Performance Standards replaced an outdated state curriculum that lent itself to eliciting good student scores on short answer and fact recall tests, she explained. The new standards require teachers to teach a more in-depth curriculum.

"(The Georgia Performance Standards) is conceptual teaching. You’re teaching for understanding and for high-level thinking," Barron said.

Barron said part of the reason she came to Hall County was because she wanted to get an inside look at how the new standards would shake out in a local school system.

"I thought I sure would like to see what it’s really like implementing the standards," she said.

In her years at the state Department of Education, Barron wore many hats. She served as the state mathematics coordinator, director of middle school education and director of high school education. She also spent seven years directing the governor’s leadership institution before directing curriculum and instruction.

The Fulton County native said her career in education started in the Fulton County school system, where she taught sixth and seventh grade math for six years. In that time she also taught evening math classes for students pursuing their high school diploma equivalency. In addition, she was a math professor at Georgia State University for three years.

After enjoying a career in state education and having earned her doctorate in curriculum and instructional leadership from Georgia State University, Barron said she’s happy to be in Hall County with family and friends.

"I felt like I had taken the state to a good point that could be maintained by the people that were there," she said. "I love it here."

She said she aims to work with teachers and administrators in the Hall County system to develop teaching methods that will target the middle school students struggling with math as evidenced by this past year’s state test scores.

Barron also developed the new ninth grade integrated Math I classes that combine various math skills. She said she wants to fine tune the classes to best meet students’ needs.



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