Barlow’s Future Brightens


Adina Kiriac

Amanda McLeod presenting on-track data to all the freshman staff.

Kaelin Collar, Editor-in-Chief

After being a staple in the Science department and teaching at Barlow for several years, Amanda McLeod has stepped away from Newton’s Laws, Covalent Bonds, and Electromagnesium to become Barlow’s new High School Success Coach.

Initially hired at Barlow straight out of graduating from earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Portland, McLeod began teaching in the Science department and after that started teaching Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). While teaching, McLeod continued to search for ways to better her education and colleagues throughout receiving her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University.

“I have been working on helping 9th graders the entire time I’ve been working at Barlow since I was hired in 2014. I have been helping decide how we can interact with 9th graders for about four years. In 2019 I took a Mentoring and Coaching class at Portland State University, which made me want to help other teachers learn how to support their kids better. I wanted to do this job because of my love for my students, and I love working with teachers,” mentions McLeod.

As a Success Coach, McLeod primarily works with 9th-grade students and 9th-grade teachers while looking for ways to help students be on track to graduate, helps students understand how high school functions, and guides teachers on being better and serving students the best way they can.

“Some goals I have are to help bring equity into classrooms, help teachers feel they’re being the best version of themselves to support their students further, ensure all 9th graders have the same amount of success regardless of their background, and most importantly, let all students feel their voice is heard and matters,” emphasizes McLeod.

Although McLeod’s new position predominantly focuses on freshmen, Barlow staff members plan to incorporate a success coach for all high school grade levels to ensure every student has their demands and needs to be exceeded in the next couple of years.

“Some of the things I’ve done already at a coach, is I lead our first 9th-grade team meeting where we celebrated the things that went well in the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year, I frequently look at data for all the 9th-grade students to see how they’re doing in their classes, I’ve been meeting with teachers and talking them through things they need help on, I’ve been communicating with 9th-grade students about being their best selves this semester as a fresh start, and I’ve been developing a mental health check-in,” explains McLeod.

While McLeod will miss teaching in the ambiguous world of science, she wants her students to know she took this new position because not only does she care about her students, wants children to feel valued and respected in a classroom, but she wants to give every single student as many opportunities as they would like in life as she believes having a good education is the foundation to achieving goals.