Jonathan Barlar is leading His way

August 1, 2011

Jonathan Barlar graduated from Florida College’s Elementary Education program in 2002—and he is now the first program graduate to become a school principal.

Barlar did not always know his future lay in leadership, since he was initially so focused on being the best teacher he could be in the classroom. To Barlar, teaching is an essential and vital role of service, and he credits Florida College for inspiring that desire.

“I think the program definitely made us take pride in what we were doing,” he says. “You’re not just going in to a job and working 40 hours because you have to put food on the table. You want to go because it is a good thing to do.”

But it wasn’t long before Barlar also began to find enjoyment in other aspects of his job, as well: committees, advisory councils, and school-wide initiatives.

“I really enjoyed doing things that had an impact on the whole school,” he says.

He also felt a strong desire for personal improvement, and to help other teachers be their best.

“The [Elementary Education] program really emphasized improvement,” he says. “They wanted us to work to get better.”

And so Barlar landed on the fast track to the top. He completed a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at USF in 2005, and then moved seamlessly into a five-year career as an assistant principal at Lee Elementary School.

Then, in January 2011, Barlar began his new career in charge at Morgan Woods Elementary. While many people identify “the principal’s office” with discipline, Barlar sees the role differently: as a way to serve, evaluate, and train teachers. He feels that if the teachers are performing at their best, then the students will too.

And he is also looking forward to having a positive relationship with the students in his new school. In his first week at Morgan Woods, he was already making a point to get into the classrooms every day.

“My goal is for the students to know that I am here to help them succeed,” he says. “I want the students to smile and wave when they see me. I want them to know I care.”

And thanks to Florida College, Barlar—and the teachers and students at Morgan Woods—can see a bright future.

“My education gave me a good foundation to be a good teacher. It set me up well to be successful.”

This is how Jonathan Barlar is leading His way.