Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me” January 2008.
Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me – Joy Barnes
By JoAnn Busenbark
After 476,784 miles of commuting over a 36-year period from Tustin, California to Gardena and back, wouldn’t you want a community like the Napa Valley to spend retirement?
Joy Barnes, K-12 teacher, dean of students and discipline specialist, found the valley 20 years ago while vacationing, and marked it on her calendar for a potential retirement site.
Born and raised until 14 years of age in Amarillo, Texas, Joy knew at an early age she wanted to become a teacher. After her father’s death when she was ten, she and her mother moved frequently until she graduated from high school in Phoenix, Arizona.
Her mother moved on and Joy stayed to attend Arizona State University, where she received her B.A. degree in English with a minor in history. Later, she obtained her M.A. in Education at California State University, Long Beach.
Joy taught for 40 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, an amazing feat in my eyes. Thirty-four of those years were at Peary, a middle school in Gardena with a population of 3,600 students.
Joy taught 8th and 9th-grade English for a number of years with 40 students in a classroom, before class sizes went down to 20 – quite an improvement. Joy loved her work and must have had amazing skills at educating this diverse group of kids.
How many kids this age are really interested in English? Making her subject interesting and relevant is the only way she could have survived and been successful.
Joy also developed a pattern for successful discipline and began to share her ideas with other teachers. She soon began to provide trainings and workshops on discipline for groups of teachers.
What is the key to effective discipline, you wonder? Respect is the key, according to Joy. Using respect, she created a sense of community in her classes, and the message penetrated even the most difficult students.
It took some longer than others to realize they wanted to be a part of something positive. As they left Joy’s classroom each day, they repeated “read, think, listen and study.”
This was the mantra that was binding her to her students. Joy’s mission and passion in life was to help kids to think and interact with others, a skill every successful adult must have.
Joy is a certified teacher, certified by a national board in a process that takes 6 or 7 months and includes five portfolios, two videos made in the classroom of the teacher, presentation of three different curriculums, scrutiny of community-parent contacts and a presentation of the teacher’s professional activities. The Los Angeles Unified School District awards a 15 percent salary increase to teachers who receive certification through this process.
Joy was active in the United Teachers of Los Angeles, chairing the local chapter at Peary. The UTLA and the National Certification Board put together materials to assist teachers in the district in their efforts toward certification.
For the last 26 years of Joy’s work at Peary, she was the dean of students for half of each day and a teacher the rest of the time. She trained new teachers in techniques for successful discipline.
How did she find the Napa Valley? Joy worked eleven months of the year at Peary, so her vacation time was precious and she did not want to travel far to find a peaceful, beautiful place to spend time off. Yes, she found Napa to be such a place.
On Joy’s first trip to Napa, Mustards in Yountville had just been open a few months; she was here for Mustards 20th-anniversary celebration. I’d say that is a regular vacationer to the Napa Valley.
Joy’s passion for students and education didn’t disappear with retirement. She is a member of the financial oversight committee for the Napa Valley Unified School District. In addition, she welcomes any opportunity to share her knowledge of discipline techniques and the National Teacher Certification process.
Joy, you found the right place. Enjoy!