Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney named Kent Barnes the 2017-18 Educator of the Year at the chamber’s Distinguished Citizens Awards Banquet on Wednesday night.

Kent Barnes is a science teacher at Sandstone Middle School. He has taught in the Hermiston School District for 11 years. Kent is a teacher you come across once in a lifetime. Students and Sandstone staff know him for being kind, loving and fun. He is often heard saying, “if the kids aren’t having fun, then they aren’t learning.” He demonstrates his love for his profession on a daily basis.

Kent is enthusiastic about science, and even more passionate that all students are capable of learning, that all students can be successful. Kent is committed to his students and their performance. Those who know Kent have witnessed his devotion to student learning. He celebrates student successes and owns their failures. If a student struggles, Kent is the first to ask, “How did I fail them?” and “What should I do differently”?

The relationships Kent has with his students motivate them to work hard and to achieve at high standards. Kent often reminds his peers of the importance of not giving up on kids. Kent and his teaching partners have indeed perfected the “secret sauce.” Over the past ten years, the science department has consistently outperformed the state, with assessment passing rates averaging 90 percent.

Mr. Barnes’s students will remember lessons taught, not only about science but about life, about kindness and acceptance of others, freedom to take risks, the ability to grow and achieve at high levels and about hard work and perseverance.

Mr. Barnes has impacted past and future high school graduates’ hearts and minds as well as those around him.