MOUNT AIRY Middle School Principal Larry Barnes has mixed feelings about his new assignment as principal at the new Oklahoma Road Middle School.
While Mr. Barnes is excited and pleased to be returning to the Sykesville area where his teaching career began, he says he also will miss the strong community, staff and parental support that helped make his job at Mount Airy Middle School much easier.
"When you have success, you tend to want to hold onto it. You want to stay with a safe and good support system," Mr. Barnes said.
At the same time, Mr. Barnes likes the challenge of opening a new middle school. He will be directly responsible for hiring and organizing the staff.
Raised in Carroll County, Mr. Barnes attended Westminster High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Western Maryland College. He earned his state principal's certificate in 1983.
His first teaching post was in 1970 at Sykesville Middle School, where he taught science. Ten years later, he accepted a teaching assistant principal position at New Windsor Middle School before coming to Mount Airy Middle School as principal in 1990.
Originally intending to teach and administer at the elementary-school level, Mr. Barnes never returned to elementary education after he was hired to fill in as a middle school science teacher. He found that he enjoyed working with students in middle school. "The students aren't childish, you can have real conversations with them, yet they are still young enough to be able to mold them and change their thought patterns," he said.
When he thinks back to his years at Mount Airy Middle School, Mr. Barnes says he has many fond memories of students, parents and staff. He is especially proud of the school's progress, and the top scores that students earned on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests.
He also remembers the hard work and combined efforts of local community service organizations and the school's PTSO, which made the computer automation of the media center a reality. He speaks often of how the school has profited from such strong community support, and the impact it makes on accomplishing and meeting school goals.
Grace Mason, a school secretary who has worked closely with Mr. Barnes for the past six years, wishes him well in his new post. "I'm happy for him. He really likes a challenge," Mrs. Mason said.
Mr. Barnes will be leaving for his new job by the end of March.
Girl Scouts gather
Girl Scouts from the Mount Airy and Winfield areas will gather Sunday to participate in Thinking Day.
The 10 Girl Scout troops that make up Community 64 have been learning about different cultures around the world in preparation of Thinking Day, which will be held at Winfield Community Fire Department's activity hall.
The troops will present skits, puppet and fashion shows. The highlight of the event is the parade of world flags.
Christy Kruhm's Southwest Neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.