High school principal, AC regent Barrett chosen for Harvard leadership institute
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School is out, summer is on and even though he's a high school principal and an Amarillo College regent, Jay Barrett has a load of homework.

And this isn't any light stuff. Barrett has writing and reading assignments, and he must take a photo that best captures the meaning of "leadership." Everything must be turned in by late June and all for a stellar opportunity any educator would want.

Barrett, who has been principal of the Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning since 2008, has been selected to attend the Harvard University Graduate School of Education's "Leadership: An Evolving Vision" professional development institute, which will last one week during July.

Barrett was chosen for the program by Raise Your Hand Texas, a group that advances educational techniques to improve public schools.

The educational institute includes talks led by influential speakers and researchers in teaching techniques, technology and learning and cultural leadership. Barrett said he is excited to meet with peers from around the world to exchange ideas and learn ways to develop his AACAL teachers into even stronger leaders.

"Leadership has changed over the past 25 years and you see things aren't the same as they used to be," Barrett said. "Teachers can't lead by the same techniques because you'll almost become a dinosaur because you're not leading the way people want to be led."

The leadership course won't be all seminars and discussions. There also is time set aside for an outdoor ropes course. Even after 30 years in education, Barrett said the Harvard course proves there still are plenty of opportunities to grow and learn.

"I'm at a time when all my colleagues are saying, 'I'm retiring,'" Barrett said. "You start thinking that way and acting that way, but now I've noticed there's a rejuvenation of 'I've got things to learn and I've got things to share.'"


Mike Smith is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. Contact him at mike.smith@actx.edu, on Twitter at @newsmithm and on Facebook.