Who’s Who With Aaron Barnett


With associate principal Connie Springfield on maternity leave for the rest of the school year, somebody was needed to fill her place while she is gone. From Shawnee Mission Northwest, P.E. teacher Aaron Barnett got the job. Here’s a Q&A with West’s new administrator.

What did you do before you became an administrator at West?
Currently I’m a teacher over at Shawnee Mission Northwest – I’m a P.E. teacher there.

So how did you get the job here?
Well, basically like there would be a substitute teacher, I’m a substitute administrator. I have my administrating degree from working in the district through the CAPS program, where I have kind of learned how to be an administrator and I’ve had my degree for about three or four years. With Mrs. Springfield being on maternity leave, they needed some help over here at West. So they approached me with the opportunity of filling in for her and I thought it was a great opportunity.

What do you like about West?
To be 100% honest, I am super impressed with how friendly and welcoming everyone has been – not only the students, but the teachers and the staff and the parents. I’ve been at a couple athletic events and I’ve had parents come up and introduce themselves to me and want to know more about me. It goes a long way with the staff and the kids and everybody. It hasn’t taken long for me to feel very comfortable here.

What about your job here do you enjoy the most?
The big thing so far is that it’s all learning. There have been some things that I’ve dealt with before just through some opportunities, but this is the first time it’s been all me. The chance to meet different kids is what I enjoyed when I got into teaching, because I love being around students and like talking to kids. A large part of an administrator’s duties is discipline, so trying to help kids and understand when they make mistakes to get them steered back in the right direction. Any interaction with students and young people I enjoy, and I enjoy getting to know them.

Did you find the transition from P.E. teacher to associate principal to be hard at all? What was the transition like? Why?
Like I said, the transition has been very smooth and that’s due to how nice everyone has been. Probably the biggest transition for me, being a P.E. teacher, is that I have to wear a tie now occassionally. That’d probably be the biggest transition so far, which means it’s been pretty smooth (laughs).

What activities do you have outside of school?
I have three little kids, and right now they’re my number one hobby I guess on the weekends. I travel around and go to their soccer and volleyball and baseball games and stuff like that. I enjoy spending time with my family and going up in the mountains in the summertime. I was born and raised on a farm, so anytime when I can get outside, that’s when I’m most happy.

What do you hope the future holds for you in education?
The number one reason why I got into education is because I like kids. I like to see kids improve and develop, and especially going in as a squirrely freshman at 14 and leaving as an 18-year old getting ready to join the workforce or going to college to do bigger and better things. As long as I’m a part of that as either a teacher or administrator, I’ll be happy.

Photo: Landon Ochsner