James Barnes

James Barnes

Chestnut Ridge Middle School
Washington Township, NJ

1. Name the key responsibilities in your current role
I am responsible for the education, safety and security of 700 students and 80 staff members. I complete the master schedule for the building, school budget, all hiring of staff, and evaluations.

2. Describe either your professional preparation, experience or achievements
I attended Rider University for my Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and Mathematics. I also attended Rider University for my Masters in Educational Administration. I have been the Principal of Chestnut Ridge Middle School since 2000. I have served on the Executive Board for the New Jersey Association for Middle Level Education. I have served on the AMLE Board for about 6 years.

3. Describe the biggest challenge you’re currently facing in middle level education
There are two big challenges facing my school and district. The first in the financial concern. As funding is lost for the district, Central Administration is always looking at the middle level for staff reductions. This places a strain on the Middle Schools and our philosophy for middle level education. Teaming is always targeted and district personnel would like to move to a Junior High School. The second concern, which I’m sure is everywhere, is technology and social media. Our students are not mature enough to handle the social media, which creates a myriad of issues in the school.

4. Share what you do for fun when not in school
I enjoy spending time with my family. We travel to the beach throughout the summer. I also enjoy skiing in the winter. I am a big sports fan and started working for the Philadelphia Phillies.

5. Tell us why you are a member of AMLE
I taught Math in High School and began my Administrative journey at the High School level. I was transferred to the Middle School in 1997 and realized I need to learn about the young adolescent. I joined AMLE to get the knowledge of the middle school philosophy and have never left. I like the networking and sharing information with everyone. I attend my first conference in Orlando in 1999 and have only missed 3 conferences since 1999.