Dr. Adrienne Barnes-Story: In My Own Words

Dr. Adrienne Barnes-Story kneeling in front of a table working with two educators in Zambia.I began to work in international development by happenstance. I was asked to do some teacher training without knowing it would be in Ethiopia. When I completed that first training, I realized that education development work is where I belong. I’ve physically worked in seven countries (USA, Honduras, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia, and Malawi); I’ve remotely supported work in two countries (Uzbekistan, Rwanda); and I’ve presented research at international conferences in five countries outside the USA (Hong Kong, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria, Ethiopia).

My single proudest professional moment with LSI was realizing that I had met my goal of winning a Prime contract with USAID. I view my work as impacting teachers and teacher educators by improving their knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward the teaching of literacy. The most significant challenge of my work centers around learning how to prioritize my physical/mental health and family over work and finding a healthy work-life balance.

The biggest misconceptions about the people and countries where I’ve worked are related to ideas that the people are not interested in improving, are not willing to work hard, or are not capable of learning to use evidence-based concepts of instruction. The most interesting lessons I’ve learned by working globally include: 1) I have enough – more than enough; 2) humility; 3) patience; and 4) minimalism. There are so many more lessons about being human that simply cannot be put into words!