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

Hey Shawnta! Should I Make My Child Do the Winter Break Packet?

Hey Shawnta! Should I make my child do the winter break packet? A winter break packet is a packet teachers send home during winter break so students can continue practicing skills. Should parents...

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Hey Shawnta! What Should Parents Do With the Information From Emily Hanford’s Podcast 'Sold a Story'?

Hey Shawnta! What should parents do with the information from Emily Hanford’s podcast "Sold a Story"? Journalist Emily Hanford began writing about literacy a few years ago. Many times, education...

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Hey Shawnta! How Can My School Get a Hallway Heroes Program?

Hey Shawnta! How can my school get a Hallway Heroes program? After I posted about my husband and I volunteering for one to two hours each Friday at our twin son’s middle school as a hallway hero,...

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Hey Shawnta! As a Former School Administrator, What Are Some Red Flags for Potential Teaching Candidates?

Hey Shawnta! As a former school administrator, what are some red flags for potential teaching candidates? Before I was a school administrator, I served on numerous interview committees. Typically,...

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student achievement

Hey Shawnta! Why Do First-Gen Immigrant Students Score Higher Than Native-Born American Students on All Standardized Achievement Tests?

Hey Shawnta! Why do first-generation immigrant students score higher than native-born American students on all standardized achievement tests? I have been asked a version of this question many times...

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Hey Shawnta! How Can We Ensure Students Learn About Our Veterans?

Hey Shawnta! There is a lot of focus on adding more cultural months to the curriculum; that should be taught at home. What about Veterans? How can we ensure students learn about our vets? This...

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