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

Say Your Colleagues’ Names Correctly

For years, I have advocated for why it's essential to say students’ names correctly. And while I spoke out for teachers to pronounce student names correctly, I was still fighting for people to say my...

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Support Black Youth Before They Become a Hashtag

While too many children are harmed and killed yearly, none are affected like Black youth. When our kids are the victims of senseless violence, rage spills online through long posts or videos....

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Let Me Wear My Crown: Black Hair Discrimination in School

“That girl has always had a head full of hair.” Whenever there is a large family gathering, my hair becomes part of the commentary. I have always had thick, long, afro-textured, curly hair. My hair...

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The Pros and Cons of ChatGPT in the Classroom

During the COVID-19 pandemic, school buildings across the country closed. Students had to learn through virtual instruction. One fear teachers had was knowing if students were doing their work at...

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Banning Books Only Makes Students Want to Read Them More

I have identical twins who are in middle school. They love to eat candy. They seem to have self-control about candy when I have it in the house, except when I put limits on it. The moment I explain...

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It’s That Time: A Back to School Checklist For Parents

The first weeks of the school year are busy, filled with meeting students and learning schedules—and it is the optimal time to set routines for back-to-school success. Setting practices and...

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