LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Dana Barr

Position: English and Speech Teacher
School: California R-1 High School
School District: Moniteau County R-I School District
City, State: California, MO

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Dana Barr was nominated by Tylere Hustead, a former student.  

Mrs. Barr is an influential educator who helps all students at California R-1 High School. As an English and Dual Credit Speech teacher, she is a role model who equips students with the tools needed to be career and college ready. Students leave her classroom with the knowledge needed to take on the world.

"I was originally a student who 'liked' to read, liked to speak in front of others, enjoyed assignments with creativity, and liked to work hard," Hustead said. "Mrs. Barr took all of those strengths and helped me develop them. Soon, I started to 'love' to read, loved to speak and present, pursued assignments with creativity in my own time, and searched out challenges. I grew up in her class. It was her class that prepared me for college, and her instructional design that I credit to my English educational success."

Mrs. Barr cares about her students and challenges them on a daily basis. She uses various teaching styles and techniques so everyone can feel successful. She also uses differentiation in her classroom to help students understand the standards needed before moving on from her class.

"To this day, I can still write one of the best research outlines, and I credit that to her," Hustead said. "Her class prepared us for college, and even though not all of us attended college, I still truly believe that we all learned from her as well. We learned life lessons about how to find information, to research, have conversations, and most importantly, find challenges and work hard to accomplish them."

After her class, Hustead went on to college and pursued a Business Communication degree that primarily focused on speech, and a minor in English. Currently, Hustead is going back to school to get their masters in order to become a high school English teacher and teach Dual Credit Speech. They've used Mrs. Barr's classroom and teaching techniques for multiple references throughout their college papers. Mrs. Barr is one of the reasons why Hustead is going back to school to pursue a teaching degree.

"Mrs. Barr’s class is the best class I've taken to prepare me for my future," Hustead said. "She was teaching high school students at a higher level because she knew we were capable. She was not only an amazing teacher, but she was a positive influence at the school. Mrs. Barr encouraged us in other extra-curricular activities and was often at track meets, basketball, football, and softball games. She also encouraged us in theater or choir. She let us know that students can work hard in the classroom, but also develop into a whole person with various other skills."

Year after year, Mrs. Barr continues to prepare students for life after high school. Students who have taken her class have become doctors, farmers, physical therapists, insurance salespeople, welders, teachers, musicians, and soldiers. She has made an impact on all of her students in some way or another. Her standards are high, both for her classroom and for students as individuals. 

"I have been blessed with many positive influences in my life, but Mrs. Barr is one of the greats," Hustead said. "She is a LifeChanger for those who have been in her classroom, those she has now, and the future students she will someday teach. I think Mrs. Barr’s students should always treat her with admiration because she is changing lives, one speech/book/essay at a time. Although I think all teachers are champions in one way or another, I believe Mrs. Barr is the Michael Jordan of teachers."

Comments (12)

Heidi Porter Posted 5 months ago

Mrs. Barr was one of the best teachers I had. I was not someone who enjoyed speaking in front of people, and I would often get very nervous when I had to present my speeches, However, by the end of her classes, I had grew to be more confident so much that now I speak in front of children all the time with ease. The thing that I liked most about her, however, was that she was fair. She had the same high expectations for all of her students regardless of their last name or what number they wore on the field. Mrs. Barr is very deserving of this award!

Julie Bailey Posted 5 months ago

As a colleague of Mrs. Barr, I have been lucky to teach with her and watch her set high expectations for all students. She pushes them to go above and beyond and to excel. Most of all I have been blessed to have her teach two of my own children. My daughter has been successfully prepared for college thanks to Mrs. Barr. As a college student, my daughter, Emma, has repeatedly given credit to Mrs. Barr. Thanks to Mrs. Barr Emma was well prepared for the expectations of her professors and has often provided tutoring to other college students not lucky enough to have an English teacher like Mrs. Barr. My son, a current high school senior, has also been appreciative of the knowledge he has gained in her classes. I feel very confident that he will be well prepared for college thanks to her. In a society where less and less is expected from students, I am glad that my children had Mrs. Barr and were pushed to achieve at a higher level due to her expectations and knowledge. She is very deserving of this recognition.

Ben Wilson Posted 6 months ago

Dana Barr is one of my esteemed colleagues, and is a great asset to California High School. She sets high standards for her students. She also provides the support those students need to meet those high standards. She definitely deserves this award.

Amy Kuebler Posted 6 months ago

I have worked with Dana for several years. There is no teacher that puts more time and effort into making sure that her students excel! Students come out of her class so well prepared for any college or career of their choice. Dana is generous with her time, never giving up on a student! We need more teachers who care about students' success as she does.

Kayla Barnard Posted 6 months ago

I know Dana personally and professionally. She is a role model in and out of the classroom. Students know her class is challenging but also that things worth having come with hard work. California is blessed to have someone so capable and passionate teaching students the art of communication.

Toby Dalbey Posted 9 months ago

I was always a little nervous when I had a class with Mrs. Barr. Mainly because I knew how she held her students to such a high standard. But how thankful I was that she did! I found myself cruising through my research papers my senior year. Not to mention I had her in an ACT Prep class. Thanks to Mrs. Barr I raised my English ACT score by 4 points and my Reading score by 7. Mrs. Barr has definitely been the best teacher I've had as a student, without a doubt. And I know no one else who deserves this award.

Matt Oerly Posted 10 months ago

The classes I took with Mrs. Barr prepared me for college in ways that I didn’t imagine were possible at the time. When I was in high school I always dreaded research projects and the formatting styles. However, once I got into my college career, I found myself breezing through papers while others were struggling. I sure did appreciate her in college.

Mason Albertson Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Barr completely changed my opinion on writing. Before, I used to dread the thought of writing a research paper or a speech. Now, I love writing. Throughout my college career, I have been getting compliments on papers or reports I have written saying to thank my previous English teacher. The knowledge and skills she taught me is priceless and I truly believe without her, I would not have gotten A's in many of my college English courses.

Michele Harkins Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Barr was the reason I was able to earn my BA and MA in History. I cannot tell you how many papers or outlines I wrote in college, but I was able to get A's on all of them because of what Mrs. Barr taught me in high school. She is the reason I was able to be a part of a drama group and go on to perform in other countries. I never hesitated to take one of her classes, and I had several with her: English I and III, Comp 101, and Drama (3 years). In every class, she set high expectations for me (as well as other students) because she knew that I was capable of reaching them. Currently, I am a high school social studies teacher. In my classroom, I use some of her sayings and teaching methods. Mrs. Barr cares about her students and exemplifies all the qualities of what makes a great teacher. Having been one of her students, I witnessed and experienced it firsthand. If it had not been for her, I know that I would not have been as successful in my career as I have been.

Amanda Allee Posted 10 months ago

As a teacher, I am grateful I had a wonderful teacher like Dana Barr when I was in high school twenty years ago! Everyday, I use her teaching methods and the knowledge she instilled in me. She built my confidence as a learner, and went above and beyond to make learning fun and memorable. She cared about me as an individual, but not because of my name or because she had to, it was because she cared about the success of all of her students. A few months ago, I called her because I needed some classroom help with new reading techniques. She didn’t hesitate; she offered me all the help she could. I’m forever grateful I had Dana Barr as my teacher; California High School is lucky to have her on staff.

Austen Malley Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Barr was one of the best teachers I had in school. She prepared me well for life after high school, which, for me, included college and going on to become a teacher myself. I have often asked myself the question in my own classroom, "How would Mrs.Barr approach this?"

Jill Posted 10 months ago

Mrs. Barr was my teacher for English I. I learned many invaluable lessons in her class (how to write a thesis statement, structuring a correct sentence, finding literature to enjoy) but many of the lessons learned had nothing to do with English. She taught me how to respect myself and my classmates, she taught the importance of peer review, she taught how to think critically and at a colleigant level. I am forever thankful for Mrs. Barr and the amazing life (and English) lessons learned in her class. She deserves this award!