Mrs. Barnes Receives Statewide Award

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Mrs. Barnes Receives Statewide Award

Evelyn Jaquez, Author

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Santa Fe High choir teacher Mrs. Barnes was named Music Educator Of The Year by the New Mexico Music Educators Association. She was honored in January.

Mrs. Barnes learned she was being honored when the president of the central district (one of six in the state), Matt Casarez, texted her with the news. She said she felt thrilled and humbled: “It was too good,” Mrs. Barnes said. When she thought of all the previous winners, she thought, “I don’t deserve this.”

Mrs. Barnes was aiming toward the award as it is the highest in the state. She had applied twice before and originally wasn’t going to apply a third time, but her friends and peers convinced her to try one last time. “Third time was the charm,” she said.

Originally form Genesee, Idaho, Mrs. Barnes’ dream was to become a famous opera singer. Along with dancing, singing, and acting lessons, she earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Idaho and a master’s in Opera Performance from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn. She performed in many shows, most prominently a national tour as the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz in New York.  

But then her career took a turn. “I realized I didn’t have to sing in New York City,”  Mrs. Barnes said. “I just had to sing anywhere, and I’d be happy.”

So she began teaching. “I think I was always meant to teach,” she said. “My grandparents and siblings were teachers.”

She taught at Petersburg, Alaska; Wethersfield, Conn.; Princeton N.J., and in Santa Fe at the College of Santa Fe for about two decades. She has been at Santa Fe High School since 2007.

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