Barnes says Bon Voyage; Chapman ready to captain the ship


As the 2023-2024 school year draws to a close, there is a typical mix of feelings from both the students and the faculty. On one hand, everyone is ready for the break, while on the other, there is a feeling of knowing that some of the people in the school are going to move on and tackle new endeavors.

After 34 years in education, the last six of which were spent as Drew Central Schools Superintendent, Kimbraly Barnes is one of those who will be embarking on a new journey at the end of this school year.

Barnes announced her retirement a couple of months ago. As hectic as the end of the year is, Barnes sat down with the Advance staff to answer a couple of questions.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had while working at Drew Central,” Barnes said. “This has been the most amazing time in my educational career. Out of the 34 years, the last six have been great. I just want to thank the students, faculty, and community for all of the opportunities.”

As she prepares to transition into this new chapter of her life, Barnes was asked how she plans on enjoying retirement.

“I plan to spend more time with my family,” Barnes added. “I look forward to spending more time with my grand-babies. My husband recently retired so I look forward to just catching up, and we are looking forward to being able to travel some. I am really just going to enjoy being at home.”

Barnes was also asked what her thoughts on incoming Superintendent Nancy Chapman were.

“I think her heart is Drew Central,” Barnes said. “She has thoroughly enjoyed her time here, first as Assistant Principal and then as Principal at Drew Central Elementary. She knows the school district and she knows the direction that the district is moving towards. I think she will be a great asset.”

Chapman was also kind enough to carve out some time to answer a few questions. She opened with some words about Barnes.

“Kim Barnes has been a mover and a shaker as Superintendent,” Chapman said. “Since I have been here, Drew Central has added a new dining hall and two new elementary classrooms due to the expansion of our school enrollment. She has been an enormous help to me in several capacities, and I have truly appreciated her guidance both as Principal and incoming Superintendent. It was a surprise to learn that she was retiring. The other administrators and I were not expecting that news when she called us all into her office to inform us of her retirement. She will truly be missed, and I wish her all the best!”

Chapman was then asked what prompted her to apply for the Superintendent job.

“My decision was driven by a profound love for Drew Central,” Chapman stated. “The students, the staff, and the unique sense of home and family that define our school are what make this place special! I am fully cognizant of the responsibilities that come with this role, and I am confident in the support that I will receive from the board, staff, and community. This assurance strengthens my resolve to continue nurturing our school’s unique environment.”

Chapman was also asked how she felt about stepping into this new role.

“As I step into the role of Superintendent, I am committed to overseeing the implementation of key initiatives,” Chapman said. “These include the adoption of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) and the establishment of a district-wide Response to Intervention (RTI) system. I firmly believe that the successful implementation of these initiatives will pave the way for Drew Central Schools to thrive. While these endeavors will require time and effort, I am confident in our collective ability to achieve them with the support of our administration and staff.”

When asked about the vision for Drew Central, Chapman said, “I understand the challenges and opportunities facing education today and will face these challenges by leading with integrity, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to our students.”

The staff of the Advance congratulate Chapman on her new role and wish Barnes the best in her retirement.