Special to the Democrat
El Dorado Union High School District announced the selection of Matthew Barnes as principal of El Dorado High School, replacing retiring Principal Jerry Smith. Barnes was selected by an extensive interview process with involvement from staff, parents, and students.
Barnes joined the district in 2001 as an English teacher at El Dorado High School for two years and served as a coach of the El Dorado High School Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team for a year.
He began his career in education as a student teacher of Social Studies and English at Clackamus High School, Oregon, and at Jackson Middle School in Portland. At Jackson, he also assumed the responsibilities for the Language, Literature, and Social Studies curricula.
Barnes has shared his time with family between Alaska and Oregon. In 2003, he moved to Alaska with his wife April where he served as an English and Honors English teacher and freshman class advisor at East Anchorage High.
In 2005, Barnes and his wife, an alumna of El Dorado High School, returned to El Dorado County upon his accepting the position of assistant principal at El Dorado High School. He was also appointed as the coordinator of the newly established Natural Resources Program and contributed to the effort to obtain a Secondary School Planning Grant for the planning phase of this new program. The planning grant was awarded in the amount of $35,000 and was extended by a three-year implementation grant. Barnes added responsibilities also included thinking outside the box when he established a Thursday afternoon detention run, providing students detention credit for coming out to run with him. Barnes said, This has turned out to be a great opportunity to connect with students in a different setting and promote some healthy lifestyle decisions.
Barnes holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska; an Master of Arts Teaching from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with secondary endorsement in Language Arts and Social Studies; and a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley. He holds an Administrative Credential and a Teaching License in Language Arts and Social Studies.
Barnes spent several years as a guide in Southeast Alaska, leading short and multi-day kayaking trips and as an instructor of kayak classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was an athletic letter winner while at Cal Berkeley, where he competed with the Cal crew rowing team. He has carried this love for the outdoors to El Dorado County, where he enjoys regularly competing in local marathons and cycling events.
Barnes and his wife April reside in Placerville with their three children. His newly appointed position will become effective in July.