As IDEA’s instructional coach, Natalie Barnes supports teachers in developing their instructional practice through cycled coaching observations and 1:1 check-ins. She also manages IDEA's aligned cycles of professional development based on growth areas for instructors in connection with schoolwide initiatives. In preparation for the district’s standardized testing season, Mrs. Barnes leads and develops IDEA’s school testing plan inclusive of themed Spirit Week events, which culminate in a school-wide pep rally event.
Prior to taking on this role, Mrs. Barnes taught English Language Arts for five years. In the seven years she’s been at IDEA, Mrs. Barnes has served as the English Language Arts Department lead and teacher as well as head cheer coach. She has been nominated for DC Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years and completed a Master of Education program at the University of Delaware in May 2020.
She strives to exceed any expectations set before her and her passion for instilling a love for learning and reading is seen through the positive rapport she builds and sustains with her students and colleagues past and present.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Mrs. Barnes worked in the public relations field for several years beginning with a position in the marketing department of a wholesale and trading company before eventually moving into her dream job working for Kimora Lee Simmons as the PR assistant for Phat Fashions brands in 2007. She moved up to senior public relations coordinator and eventually became a public relations specialist managing an entire department.
In the process of recruiting and working with college-age interns, Mrs. Barnes realized how much she loved helping young people learn. She enrolled in Howard University’s Ready-to-Teach program, which provided her with 18 credits of graduate coursework and a mentor and also assisted her in finding a position as an English teacher at F.W. Ballou Senior High School.
At Ballou, Mrs. Barnes taught 9th grade English Language Arts for two years. She was selected to become a part of Ballou’s cohort of AVID-trained teachers, which trains teachers to prepare their students to succeed in higher education and their professional pursuits. After taking some time off to be a mother to her two young sons, she returned to teaching, working at Thurgood Marshall Academy and Cesar Chavez, before coming to IDEA in 2015.
Mrs. Barnes graduated from Virginia State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in mass communications.
She welcomed the birth of twins in June of 2022, completing her family of six.
Mrs. Barnes’ favorite quote is: “Education must not simply teach work - it must teach life” - W.E.B Du Bois