Dr. Catherine Barnes


About Dr. Catherine Barnes

Dr. Catherine Barnes, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is an educator with over 25 years of experience. While in undergraduate school she started her career as a Classroom Assistant for a special needs classroom, helping struggling students grasp important concepts. The position was rewarding and instantly ignited her passion for teaching. She quickly realized she wanted to help more students by becoming a classroom teacher, changed her major, and graduated from the University of Florida.

Following her graduation, Dr. Barnes moved to Jacksonville and accepted a position as a temporary teacher filling in for a teacher on maternity leave. In time, she was offered a full-time teaching position in secondary English. She relished the opportunity to help her students learn and navigate literature while planning the next big steps in their lives. Believing that every student is capable of achieving their full potential with proper support and guidance, Catherine spent her years as a teacher empowering each and every one of her students to see education as a pathway to overcoming societal barriers.  Her students could see a college education, or a viable career that allowed them to be productive adults, as the next step in their journey .

A naturally gifted educator and leader, Dr. Barnes was soon approached to act as a substitute Assistant Principal. It was then she developed a desire to understand mental health and began studying behaviors in an academic setting.  During one of the Assistant Superintendent’s visits to her school, he believed her to be the actual Vice Principal given her eloquence and her well-informed answers to his questions about policy and interventions. Impressed, he pushed for her to go on to graduate school and work in administration—and he didn’t stop pushing, eventually bringing her an application to a prestigious Educational Leadership program.

From there, Dr. Catherine Barnes earned her Master’s degree and began working as an Assistant Principal, Vice Principal and Principal. Two years later, she decided to pursue a doctorate and began teaching graduate courses. Almost ten years later, she remains teaching the next generation of educators, instilling in them the same core values she employed during her time in the classroom and in leadership. 

In addition to teaching at the graduate level, Dr. Barnes eventually became the Assistant Director of Pathways, a program designed to help at-risk  students complete high school and prepare for college. Under her leadership, Pathways increased its graduation rate and helped a large number of students matriculate into undergraduate programs without the need for remediation. 

Throughout her career, Catherine has worked at every level of education, from early learning to post secondary education. At the core of her teaching philosophy lies the belief that “kids deserve a fighting chance—even if you have to fight to give it to them.” When kids don’t want to learn or challenge themselves, that is when teachers matter the most.  A teacher’s ability to adapt to today’s student and transform their delivery in order to connect with their students can change the trajectory of a child’s life.. 

In addition to her career in education, Dr. Catherine Barnes is also an accomplished businesswoman and internationally  published author. She is the owner of Dare 2 Dream Travel Agency and Sudden Impact Solutions, a personal consulting and coaching company. Catherine is a certified life coach who helps others determine and navigate their path to success in various areas of their lives. She specializes in self-help and restoration and has taught a variety of workshops, including ones on the Superwoman Syndrome, Mental Self-Care, and Navigating the Skin You Are in: Understanding the intersection of Race and Gender in the Workplace, and Getting What You Want: Mastering Assertiveness and Aggression. 

These topics have also become cornerstones of her career as an author. To date, she has written or co-authored six books, Sister, Why You Hate Me?, Teenage Girls: The Guide for Health, Wealth, & Self-Esteem, and Beyond Theory: Practical Strategies Making a Difference in Schools, Woman Power: Strategies for Female Leaders and The Power of the P: Finding the One that Fits. Soon, Catherine will release her next book, Love Letters to Us.  This book is an anthology of letters written by incredible women, from all over the country and all walks of life.  This book gives hope, through heartfelt challenges and triumphs, while providing validation and voice women all over the world.

For more information on Dr. Catherine Barnes and her insight into education, make sure to read her blog.