About Me

I’m Shawnta (Shawn-tay) S. Barnes, and I’m also known as Educator Barnes.  I am a married mother of identical twin boys.

I believe being an educator is my calling. I have worked in the K-12 setting for over a decade and the college setting since 2013. Below, I have included information about my background.

K-12 Education Consulting

Blazing Brilliance

I spent the first 15 years of my career working in various schools. During the last few years, I was asked by other educators, schools, and organizations to support them. As the requests increased, I knew my calling was bigger than only serving in one school, so I opened my education consulting business Blazing Brilliance, and I consult full time.

K-12 Educator & College Adjunct Instructor ~ https://educatorbarnes.com/k12resources/

I have been an educator since 2006.  Previously, I have served as a 5-8 middle school academic dean, an elementary library/media specialist, an elementary and high school literacy coach, an elementary English language learner teacher, and a middle and high school English Teacher.  In addition to teaching at the K-12 level, I have been an adjunct instructor at IUPUI since 2013 and Marian University since 2018.  I also supervise ENL student teachers at IUPUI. I am a strong advocate for urban schools and culturally responsive education.


  • Ed.D in Literacy, Culture, and Language – Indiana University (2024)
  • M.S. in Language Education – IUPUI (2012)
  • B.A. in English Education – Purdue University (2006)

Licenses (I have held a job in every area where I am licensed!)

  • Language Arts 5-12
  • Reading P-12
  • English as a New Language P-12
  • Library/Media P-12
  • School Administration P-12

Writer, Editor & Book Publisher



I am currently a writer and editor-in-chief for Indy Kids Winning. I previously edited work for One Public EducationD.C. K12.Secondline BlogMemphis K12EdLanta, and The Educator’s Room. In addition to writing for Indy K12, I have had work published in various publications such as The 74, Huffington Post, Education Post, Citizen Education, & TWINS Magazine.

On March 31, 2019, my husband and I started a book publishing company called Brave Brothers Books LLC where we aim to publish diverse books for all readers.

Podcast Host ~ Brazen Education Podcast

December 2018, I began hosting the podcast Brazen Education, an education podcast with a focus on speaking your truth, being transparent to help others, and having no shame about it!

Urban Gardener Educator ~ https://www.gardenershicole.com/

The first website I created online was Gardener Shicole.  Shicole (Sha-cole) is my middle name and my nickname.  Because I established the Gardener Shicole website before I conceived Educator Barnes, I refer to myself as Gardener Shicole for all topics garden-related.  I grew up growing food with my parents and now I teach my children and other people I know how to grow their own food and make harvest meals.  You can follow my urban gardening journey on Twitter and Instagram @GardenerShicole.

Genealogist ~ https://richardsonfamilylegacy.com/

A couple years after I graduated from Purdue University, I wanted to learn more about my paternal grandmother and her family.  My dad and I, along with other family members, began researching our family history.  This led to the creation of a 224 page Richardson family history book.  Then, I started learning more about being a genealogist and started researching other branches of my family.  Currently, I am converting the Richardson family history book to digital form so it can be a living legacy.  I hope to do the same for other branches of my family.

One comment

  1. Hi there, I have only recently discovered your blog (pertaining to education) after reading your article about why you left IPS. I live in midtown and have kiddos in two different IPS schools. I am borderline obsessed with education reform and am particularly concerned about IPS’s current trajectory. I am seeking guidance on the upcoming school board election. Will you consider writing a piece on which candidates you intend so support and why? I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Chelsea Koehring

Leave a Reply