Shawnta S. Barnes

Shawnta (Shawn-tay) S. Barnes, also known as Educator Barnes, is a married mother of identical twin boys. She navigates education from not only the educator’s perspective but also the parent’s perspective. She has been an educator for nearly two decades. Shawnta works with K-12 schools, universities, & education adjacent organizations through her education consulting business Blazing Brilliance. She is an adjunct college professor, supervises student teachers, Indy Kids Winning Editor-in-Chief, Brave Brothers Books Co-founder, & CEO, and Brazen Education Podcast host. She holds five education licenses: English/language arts 5-12, English to speakers of other languages P-12, library/media P-12, reading P-12, and school administration P-12, and she has held a job in every licensed area. Previously, she has served as a school administrator, English teacher, English learners teacher, literacy coach, and librarian. She won the 2019 Indiana Black Expo Excellence in Education Journalism Award. In 2023, she completed her doctorate in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education with a minor in Learning Sciences. She is an urban gardener in her spare time and writes about her harvest-to-table journey at To learn more about Shawnta, visit

Posts By Shawnta S. Barnes

This Juneteenth I’m Challenging Educators to Emancipate Themselves From a Colonized Curriculum

Ed Note: This post was originally published in 2020. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, this marked the end of slavery in the United States … that is what a lot of people...

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Bans or Boundaries? The Ongoing Battle Over Cell Phone Use in Schools

During my senior year of high school, I learned I was accepted into Purdue University as an education major, and my family began helping me prepare to move away from home. This resulted in an...

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Mental Health

Lost Joy is Driving Black Educators Away from the Profession

In the song “Don’t Take Your Joy Away” by Kirk Franklin and the Family, the soloist's verses express a need for God not to take His joy away, even though this person may have sometimes fallen below...

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8 Things That Make a Good School

Educators have difficulty agreeing upon what makes a “good school.” My thoughts about this topic have continued to change as I progressed through K-12, earned my bachelor’s degree, began teaching,...

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Literacy Ed Tech Can Provide Invaluable Support At Home

I taught middle school English for years. I was an elementary literacy coach and an elementary librarian. My sons really had no choice but to love reading and learn how to read. What if you aren’t a...

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2024 is the Year to End Hair Politics In Schools

When stories of hair politics go viral, people are outraged for a moment, but the student at the center of the incident is quickly forgotten and the masses move on to the next topic to rage about....

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