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May 30, 2006

Aurora Public Schools Board of Education Names Top Choice for Superintendent

The Aurora Public Schools Board of Education is pleased to name Mr. John Barry as the sole finalist for Superintendent of Schools. The board will now begin contract negotiations with Barry. 

“We believe that Barry will successfully lead APS with fresh vision and strong leadership.  We are confident that he will make informed choices that will positively impact our teachers, parents, community and most of all our students.  He is a remarkable leader who will bring a unique perspective to APS,” said Board President Matt Cook.

 “I feel honored and privileged that the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education has selected me as the leading candidate for Superintendent of Schools.  I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to accelerating the academic achievement of students, and I am convinced we can close the student achievement gap," said Barry.

Barry is confident that his diverse leadership experiences are transferable and will benefit the Aurora Public Schools. “I have learned that you lead people by inspiring them so my approach will focus on collaboration, consensus and coalition.  My initial focus will be to listen and learn about our district.  I have no doubt that together we--students, teachers, principals, staff, parents, community members, business leaders, our board and I--will make Aurora Public Schools the premier district in Colorado,” said Barry.

Barry brings a broad range of experiences to APS.  He is the current Vice President for Defense and Security for SAP in Washington, D.C.  SAP is the world's leading provider of business software solutions, including cutting edge software used by school districts.  Barry is highly skilled in international strategic planning and effectively works with staff and clients in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Barry had a distinguished military career.  He served for 30 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a “Two-Star” Major General.  Barry led the largest fighter aircraft-training base in the world.  In this role, Barry gained significant educational leadership experience ranging from curriculum approval to successfully meeting international student needs.  He provided strategic academic direction that ensured long-term success of the training base. 

Barry was head of strategic planning for the entire U.S. Air Force and is highly experienced in crisis response and training.  Barry has led multicultural and multilingual groups throughout the world, including Germany, Korea, the Netherlands and Turkey. As Wing Commander of a base in Turkey, Barry was responsible for human resources and support services at a Department of Defense K-12 school.

As executive director and board member of the 2003 Columbia Accident Investigation Team, Barry led the independent inquiry of the tragic Columbia Space Shuttle accident.  He effectively led more than 25,000 individuals and coordinated the efforts of more than 130 organizations.  Barry successfully helped manage a $326 million budget.

Barry was a fellow at the Broad Academy for School Superintendents in 2004 where he spent 10 months visiting nine major urban areas and studying the state of urban school districts.  He also attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1993 and 1994 and was a White House Fellow in 1995 and 1996.

He earned his master’s in Public Administration from Oklahoma University in 1980 and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs from the United States Air Force Academy in 1973. 

Before making its decision, the APS Board of Education gathered input from student, parent, staff and community groups through numerous forums, focus groups and interviews.  "We are grateful to the countless individuals who made time in their busy lives to be a part of the selection process," said Cook.

Tonight the board voted 5-2 to select Barry from a group of four finalists who visited Aurora last week.  “This was a tough choice for the board because all candidates were strong. We are excited that Barry will make Aurora his home,” said Cook.  Debbie Barton, Matt Cook, Jeanette Carmany, Judy Edberg and Susan Tabacheck voted yes.  Jane Barber and Dr. Ed Lord voted no.

Assuming contract negotiations are concluded in a satisfactory manner, the board will likely appoint Barry as Superintendent of Schools at its June 6 meeting.  If so, Barry will begin his official duties midsummer.


  • A photo of Barry is available at www.aps.k12.co.us/images/john_barry.jpg
  • Because Barry and the APS Board of Education are entering contract negotiations, he will not be available for public comments until after the June 6 board meeting.


Communication Services

Georgia Durán, Director
303-344-8060, ext. 28015
FAX: 303-326-1939
e-mail: georgiad@admin.aps.k12.co.us

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