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Greenbrier's Kristen Barnett named Assistant Principal of the Year

Kristen Barnett, the assistant principal at Eastside Elementary School in Greenbrier, was named the 2024 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals (AAESP) last week.

Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA) Executive Director Mike Mertens, AAEA Director of Learning Services and Operations Lenett Thrasher, Greenbrier Superintendent Scott Spainhour and Deputy Superintendent Kelli Martin surprised Barnett with the award during the third annual Glisten in Greenbrier event at Matthews Park last Thursday.


The Assistant Principal of the Year award is given to an elementary level assistant principal in Arkansas who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students and has shown exemplary contribution to the profession.

“Barnett is one individual I have worked with who uniquely stands out,” Tricia Benish, the director of mental health & behavior services at Greenbrier, said. “She is always willing to help and open to learning from others. She welcomes a challenge and goes above and beyond to support students and staff. She is motivated and hardworking in order to support academic progress, social emotional health and positive behaviors of her students.”

Barnett has been the assistant principal at Eastside since 2020 and has implemented the Science of Reading initiative throughout the district since she started which has had a positive impact on both teachers and students in Greenbrier.

“Kristen Barnett is an elementary assistant principal who pours her energy and love for teaching into incredible support for the entire school community,” Martin said. “She clearly would be an ideal representative of elementary educational leadership for our state.”


Barnett said that the community-wide “RISE Up In Lights” literacy night and Christmas parade is one of the contributions she is most proud of in her school community.

“Barnett is an expert educator in all areas,” Ashley Lane, a teacher at Eastside, said. “She is very humble, but also has a strong desire to pour her knowledge into her teachers. Her feedback is invaluable. She is a master at giving constructive feedback in a respectful manner and always has suggestions that I, and my students, have greatly benefited from.”

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