About Frank Barnes…

Frank Barnes has acted boldly on behalf of children and families for over 25 years as an educator, researcher, and organizer. Currently, Dr. Barnes is the Chief Accountability Officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a former Broad Prize for Urban Education winner and the 17th largest school district in the United States. He is co-author of the district report Breaking the Link.

Dr. Barnes came to Charlotte-Mecklenburg from the Boston Public Schools, another Broad Prize winner, where he also held the position of Chief Accountability Officer. In Boston he led the design and rollout of the district’s school turnaround strategy for its lowest performing schools. That work resulted in more than of half of the district’s “turnaround schools” (6 of 11) exiting low performing status within three years, with two earning the highest school performance level possible in the state, and two schools receiving the School on the Move prize for outstanding school achievement.

Prior to Boston, he was a Senior Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. While at the Institute he worked with urban school districts across the country helping them to examine and improve the conditions of schools. He authored the technical assistance guide, Inquiry and Action, and wrote multiple articles and reports on school improvement. His research has focused on knowledge management and adult learning in organizations.

Dr. Barnes was born and raised in Chicago on the city’s south side. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Speech & Communications from Macalester College, as well as two Masters Degrees – in Teaching and Curriculum and Education Policy and Management – from Harvard University. He earned a doctorate degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He is a proud husband and a father of three.


Learn more about Frank’s Talk…

Title: From Novice to Expert
Description: Research shows resoundingly that in education, people matter. As you peel this artichoke and get to the heart of it, it isn’t the people per se, but our individual and organizational knowing or knowledge. If schools and school systems, or any type of organization, can generate, tap and spread knowledge effectively, we have a greater chance of achieving the results we so eagerly pursue.
What do you want people to learn from your talk? The key to sharing and developing knowledge lies within “the expert,” and unearthing what she or he knows. Being an active, engaged learner, both expert and novice, is essential in gaining access to that often hidden expertise.
What action items do you want people to take away from your talk? To consider and apply a set of lessons to guide self-reflection about their own expertise and/or something they want to become very good at.


Learn more about Frank…

Where is your hometown? Chicago, Illinois
What are your hobbies? I’m not sure I have a hobby.
What are you passionate about? My faith, my race and culture, education and learning, and Chicago sports.
What is the best compliment you’ve received? “When you speak you make me think harder.”
What do you want to be remembered for? Educating, inspiring, and helping people and organizations make life changing turnarounds.
How do you push the boundaries? By being clear with myself about my values and what I (really) believe, adhering to or confronting those beliefs and values, and choosing to act or speak when called to, even when I’m afraid it will cost me something.
What does your happy place look like? Taking a nap after a good meal on a quiet, warm afternoon.
What is one thing that you’d like to share that is not commonly known about you? I secretly enjoyed watching Downton Abbey when my wife made me watch it with her on Sundays.


Thoughts on Charlotte

What part of town do you live in? Cotswold
What draws you to Charlotte? The warmth and friendliness you experience on a daily basis.
Where do you see Charlotte in 5 years? Growing and prosperous, but a tale of two cities.


Our most important question…

What animal will most likely be our future overlords? Hmmmm…