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

Multilingual Learners

Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Multilingual Education

In education, we love a good acronym. We love them so much that, over time, we often forget what they stand for. When we forget those words, we sometimes forget the focus behind the acronym and its...

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Black Educators: When They Tell You to Tone Down, Turn Up.

“Too stern.” “Too loud.” “Too sassy.” “Too aggressive.” “Too blunt.” These are phrases that I was called throughout my career by white colleagues. A few years ago, I shared how a principal responded...

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What Are We Willing to Lose So Our Kids Can Gain?

“I’m scared.” These were two words an elementary teacher uttered after a professional development “lunch-and-learn” I facilitated a couple of years ago for an elementary school. The topic was...

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The Supreme Court on Affirmative Action: Who Will You Blame Now?

It was 2001, and I was a freshman at Purdue University majoring in English education. I was walking on campus with a group of white female “friends.” One of the women started complaining about how...

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Anti-Racist Education: The N-Word is Not a Word for School

Editor’s Note: This article contains a racist term quoted in a poem. As a Black educator, every year, and I mean every single year, I am asked by a teacher, usually racially white, what they should...

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We Need Partnership Between Black and White Women Educators

The education system has the tentacles of systemic racism, inequity and bias embedded in its foundation. To counter this, we need to work together. A former colleague and I discussed ways Black and...

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