Passion before certification


Amiya Callicutt

Health Science teacher Kathryn Barnett watches junior Maci Perkins practice for her CPR certification test. Barnett teaches Principles of Health Science, Pharmacy Tech, and part of the CNA Collin College course.

Health science teacher Kathryn Barnett aims to receive her teachers certificate from University of Texas at Dallas. 

“I have been teaching about three years,” Barnett said. “I teach pharmacy tech, public health, end of life, principles of health science and internship [courses].” 

Barnett has worked as a nurse for over 30 years and received her nursing degree from University of Texas at Austin. She worked in many areas of nursing such as ICU, recovery and marketing. Barnett then found herself in a corporate job for an insurance company prior to the death of her parents. This led her to retirement. 

“I retired and goofed around for a year,” Barnett said. “I decided I am not good at staying home, and it came to me to become a teacher.” 

Barnett’s husband met the head of the CTE program at an event, and opened an opportunity for Barnett. He explained that Barnett was a nurse and was interested in teaching. 

“[The head of CTE program] called me and I started within a month of that call,” Barnett said. “I came to Lovejoy in the middle of the year and the first half of the year, [and] all of the health science classes were taught by a substitute.” 

Barnett entered her first year of teaching with no experience, yet the need for her expertise was high.

“[Barnett] has much knowledge of the nursing and medical field that we need to tap into,” animation and digital media teacher Ray Cooper said. “Being a teacher is hard enough when you are ready for it, and to not be ready for it is double the difficulty. She has done a great job taking on the challenge.” 

The career and technical education systems allows teachers to be certified through immense knowledge on a certain topic. Barnett is completing courses to receive a certificate even with 30 years of nursing experience. 

“We told her, we can hire you now, and you have up to five years to get a teacher’s certificate,” Associate principal Teresa Dodson said. “Yet [Barnett] is very driven and wanted her teacher’s certificate.” 

Barnett balances teaching and getting her teacher’s certificate. She leaves the high school Tuesdays and Thursdays and goes straight to her class. Barnett’s classes this past semester included education psychology and American public school. 

“One of my classes is completely virtual, [and] I watch the video and keep up with the work,” Barnett said. “I have to admit I work hard, I sacrifice my time and weekends.” 

Barnett sees the last few steps of receiving her teacher’s certificate, yet contemplates working towards a master’s as well. 

“I am thinking about getting my master’s because I am doing really well in school,” Barnett said. “[Although] my next step is student teaching. Lovejoy is going to work with me on that to help me get my certification and still work here.” 

Barnett touches on how her parents left an influence of lifelong learning. Barnett’s mother was a teacher and encouraged as such. 

“It is important to constantly be challenging yourself and being of service your whole life,” Barnett said. ”If you park your brain it will deteriorate.”