Mr. Barnes named Principal of the Year

Hollis-Brooklines Rick Barnes was named principal of the year by the New Hampshire Association of school principals. “He never backs down from a challenge-keeping our school open during a pandemic, fighting for what students need-he never brushes anything under the rug, stated by students from the NHASP article.

Photo taken from Google

Hollis-Brooklines Rick Barnes was named principal of the year by the New Hampshire Association of school principals. “He never backs down from a challenge-keeping our school open during a pandemic, fighting for what students need-he never brushes anything under the rug, stated by students from the NHASP article.

Abigail Brown, Op-Ed Editor

Principal Rick Barnes from our own Hollis Brookline High School has been selected by the New Hampshire’s High School Principal of the Year award for the 2021-22 academic year. Principal Barnes was awarded principal of the year after the New Hampshire Association of School Principals panel met with students, staff, parents, and community members. 


Barnes was named principal of the year for his constant strive of excellence for the school. He has many qualities that made him stand out as the winner of this prestigious award, from being approachable and responsive to everyone. 


Annie Hazelton ‘21 was one of the students at HB that was interviewed by the NHASP regarding her thoughts about Barnes. “Mr. Barnes is very easy going and approachable, which makes it easy for students and staff to come to him with questions, comments and concerns. He actually walks the halls and talks to students rather than staying in his office all day. He cares about his students in school and outside of school. I have had conversations with him about my future plans and he was genuinely invested in them. He cares about the wellbeing of his students and staff and works tirelessly to make the school the best it can be. He listens to his students’ concerns and ideas and helps create tangible plans of action to take those concerns and improve the school and help the students,” said Hazelton ‘21. 


The NHASP wrote that “his calm and cool demeanor makes him approachable to everyone. He listens attentively and is responsive to students’ and staff members’ concerns and ideas,” stated the NHASP. All of Barnes’ qualities are what makes him a good principal and HB the astounding school and community it is. Lia Eisenberg ‘21 was also interviewed by the NHASP. “He genuinely cares about HB even though he is leaving next year and still cares about the students and their futures and the future of HB,” said Eisenberg 21. 


Throughout the time Barnes has been at HB, he has implemented programs like Cav Block and is working on next year’s new advisory program as well providing students help to help them achieve their goals. “Mr. Barnes provides a lot of guidance to the student council. We go to him for information and ideas. He is also very receptive to the student council’s ideas on how to improve the school through policy and activities,” said Hazelton. 


Students, staff, and the community all agree “‘Rick was instrumental in creating opportunities for teachers to provide a tiered system of interventions for students through the Cav Block. During his tenure, Rick has provided Hollis Brookline High School with a number of innovative and inclusive systems and programs, which have benefited all students,”’ stated the NHASP. There are many clubs, programs, organizations, and ideas students have that Mr. Barnes helps with and provides the resources for,  “especially with the diversity and equality initiative group we have, it has built a nice community for students to come forward and talk to Barnes on a weekly basis,”stated Eisenberg. 


There are reasons one gets named principal of the year: for courage, leadership, and how successful the school as a whole is. A principal having good qualities and having a successful school and community behind them is what makes a school system and principal successful.“I think that Mr. Barnes was awarded principal of the year because he never backs down from a challenge no matter how difficult it will be, if it is for the good of the school. He has also touched the lives of so many students, staff, and parents in the community through his work and all of his efforts to listen to the community,” said Hazelton. 


“He has been at the school for a long time so it is well deserved and has been pushing through the pandemic. He knows a bunch of students by first name and he cares about everyone. He really is putting in an extra effort especially since he won’t be here next year. One thing he is doing is setting up an advisory program for next year. He is just an awesome principal and I am sad to see him go,” said Eisebgerg. 


Multiple students agree that Barnes is deserving of this award. “He genuinely cares about all students. He is a very positive person-super generous with his time and both easy and enjoyable to talk to,”  said students interviewed by the NHASP. Mr. Barnes believes in the school’s values of integrity and individuality. He brings a positive feeling and a bright personality and attitude to school every day. 


Being awarded principal of the year is a major achievement, one that Barnes credits his community for. “I really think it boils down to leadership and I bet that probably changes from year to year so I am sure some of it had to do with how well we have done as a school and the pandemic. Certainly leadership is a piece of that but as a collective we have really good families, really good students, and really good teachers so I think all those factors really play into it,” said Barnes. 


After receiving this award, Barnes added that he is very humbled by it all. “I am very humbled by the whole thing. It is very humbling to be recognized in that fashion. Some of the feedback that was shared with me from different groups was very gratifying and was very good to hear about. It is exciting but also at the same time humbling and I am honored,” stated Barnes.


Barnes will be recognized for this great achievement in the coming months. “As this year’s NH High School Principal of the Year (POY), Rick will be recognized in front of his peers and family members during a modified ceremony hosted by the NH EDies this June. Additionally, this May, NHASP will be hosting a private formal dinner event for all of this year’s POY award recipients. Rick will be recognized for his outstanding accomplishment among these cohort of leaders,” stated by the NHASP.


Even though Mr. Barnes is leaving after this year the Hollis-Brookline community greatly appreciates everything Principal Rick Barnes does and knows he deserves this award. He impacts each student each and every day in a positive way and we wish him the best in his next endeavours. We know he will take the qualities he shows at HB with him wherever he goes. 

Visit NHASP for more information about Mr. Barnes being awarded.