Barbara Ragle Barnes 1923-2018

UVEI's founder, two-time director and Board member emerita, Barbara Ragle Barnes, died on March 7, 2018 at the age of 94. Barbara Barnes was not only the founder, two-time director, and a Board member emeritus of UVEI, she was a friend and mentor to me -- as I know she was for so many educators around the Upper Valley and well beyond. On behalf of all of us at UVEI, it was an honor to work and learn from Barbara.  Our work will not be the same without her, and we will miss her!


When I visited the Upper Valley for the first time five years ago, Barbara took me on a tour of local schools, followed by a gathering at her house where she introduced me to local educators. Her passion, insights and honesty were infectious. I thought to myself, “I want to be a part of this.” Since coming here, just as with so many others, Barbara became my guide and conscience. Our twice monthly lunches were an opportunity for Barbara to ask me hard questions (and she was never shy about that), to ask about my perspective on the educational issues of the day, and to offer valued advice. She also shared the history of UVEI with me, and, by extension, much of the history of education in the Upper Valley. As a Board member emeritus who never stopped attending Board meetings, she continued to challenge, shape and guide the direction of UVEI.

In 2016 I had the opportunity to interview Barbara for YCN News about her work and career (UVEI is currently making arrangements to re-share this video). I was struck by how clear her sense of purpose was, and by her deep conviction about how teachers learn and grow. When she said, “It’s about the hands on, it’s about the doing of things,” she left little room for doubt. “Being in the classroom is what is really important. It’s still an important essence of UVEI and what we do. You become an apprentice teacher and you learn by doing. I continue to feel, even at my ripe old age, that that is important. You can’t read about being a teacher, you have to learn by doing it.”

All of us at UVEI are proud to be a part of carrying on Barbara’s work and legacy.

Barbara's obituary appeared in the Valley News on March 13, 2018.