Nonprofit Leadership Awards 2013: Katie Barr, Tomorrow's Leaders Today

Katie BarrExecutive directorTomorrow's Leaders Today, P.O. box 1731, Santa Rosa 95402;

Age: 45

Residence: Santa Rosa

Professional background: Educator, I was originally a middle and high school English and Social Studies teacher.  Then I went back to school to become a school administrator and got into school reform.

Education: BA Degree from the University of Oregon in History & Latin American Studies, Master's Degree from San Francisco State in Educational Leadership.  Secondary Teaching Credential from Dominican University, Public School Administrator License from the University of Oregon

Staff: 6

Describe your organization: Tomorrow's Leaders Today has been around for over 20 years helping high school juniors develop their leadership skills and inspire them to engage in their communities.  In recent years, we have expanded the organization to include a Youth Empowerment Council, partnering with Chop's Teen Club, to create a methodology providing a youth voice on various committees and task force groups related to Cradle to Career. The YEC  also conducts elementary and middle school leadership trainings and workshops. This year, we are proud to annouce our newest program: The Career Readiness Program (CRP) in partnership with Sonoma County Office of Education, Santa Rosa City Schools, Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma County Alliance.  This program provides opportunities for students to learn the "soft skills" or self management skills needed for the workplace, a Career Mentor to guide them on the path to their desired career, and a 40-hour work-based learning experience.    

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I have been with TLT for three years.  Prior to my tenure here, I was in Oregon with a nonprofit that worked with rural school districts to help them support their at-risk youth and disenfranchised families.  My whole life had been about education.   My mom was a teacher and I think I have followed in her foot steps.  My first teaching assignment was at Altimira Middle School in Sonoma Valley School District.  I loved that job.  I loved being with the students.  My passion has always been the students, especially the "non-traditional" student, hence I think the work I have done for the past 10 years.  In addition to my position with TLT, I am a Board Trustee for the Rincon Valley Union School District, which has taught me a great deal.

What is your role in the organization?: Executive Director

What achievement are you most proud of?:  I want to say being a mom!  I find it to be a delicate balance often a juggling act to work full-time and maintain the peace and happiness of our children.  But if I had to pick a professional achievement, it would be;  Founder of the Patrick McCurdy Education Foundation and Reaching Out Mentoring.

What is your biggest challenge today?: Finding balance

What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: The Career Readiness Program.  We have partnered with Sonoma County Office of Education, Santa Rosa City Schools, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Sonoma County Alliance.  It truly is a collaborative effort that represents collective impact!

What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?:  I would have to say having a person who runs our house: does the grocery shopping, cleans the house, does the laundry, feeds our dogs....that would be ideal!

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: I think partnerships will become more vital, especially as we work to reform the education system.   The way we have operated in silos will no longer exist.  It will take a team or partnership of "experts" to bring forth change.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: My dad, Robert Barr

Current reading: Eat, Drink, Vote by Marion Nestle

Most want to meet: Jimmy Carter, greatest mediator ever

Stress relievers: Yoga and chocolate

Favorite hobbies: my kids!

Words that best describe you: energetic, visionary, forever an optimist

Show Comment