Educator of the week

Darwin R. Barker 
Jackson Middle School

Fairfax County Public Schools
Favorite Teaching Subjects: Science, Technology and Physical Education

Chicago native, Darwin Barker began his STEM journey through the emphasis his parents placed on his education. Darwin’s passion for STEM was ignited from his science teachers. Solving problems, classroom investigations, and science projects paved the way for Darwin to attend Hampton University where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Wanting to continue his education and pursue a career in academia, he received his MA in Education from the University of Phoenix in addition to becoming an Education Specialist in Administration and Supervision from Old Dominion University. Darwin always felt that he had an ability to influence others and be a positive role model in his community, thus sparking his interest in teaching.

Mr. Barker has been Assistant Principal (A.P.) at Luther Jackson Middle School for three years and prior to becoming A.P. at Jackson M.S., he was a middle school teacher for 12 years. Teaching one of his favorite subjects: Science. He vividly recalls the lasting impact that his Science teachers in middle school had on his academic experience. He recalls that they "impressed him with their knowledge and ability to make the classes interesting", while also infusing scientific investigation and hands-on projects. As a middle school teacher Mr. Barker was able to was able to share this same passion and enthusiasm of STEM to young eager minds so they may go out and envision, design, and create - on their way to becoming our next STEM technical workforce.

Early in his career, Mr. Barker had the opportunity to sponsor a youth group for African-American boys. Drawing on his own youthful experiences, growing up in the inner city of Chicago, he was able to serve as a positive role-model and mentor. This recognition empowered him to become a greater instructor, as he states “I am happy when students take advantage of their potential and make the most of their opportunities in education. It is great to see students learn from their mistakes and not let those errors in judgment define who they are, as individuals. I am proud to have worked in diverse school environments with multiple nationalities of students, taking advantage of the ability to model tolerance and acceptance.” Mr. Barker chose to become an assistant principal so he could further expand his impact to mentor and inspire people to be their best in their community.

By becoming an Assistant Principal he is able to further advance his personal goals as a student advocate and contribute to the middle schools experiences in a positive way. He is to eager to expand opportunities for problem-based learning and related projects for the students at his school and is always looking for partnerships and collaborators that share the same vision. He would like to continue the expansion of the partnership with Northrop Grumman - which recently sponsored a Viva Technology™, one of Great Minds in STEM's flagship education programs, at his school for over 100 students. The goal of the program is to motivate and inspire students to pursue STEM career pathways.

Darwin is the youngest of three boys who as a child enjoyed attending sports camps, swimming, and reading. Currently he enjoys spending quality time with his wife and young daughters. For leisure, he enjoys reading, basketball, and catching up on the "NOT Top Ten" on ESPN's SportsCenter.

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