The Chancellor’s Award for Service to WSU Vancouver is given at the discretion of the chancellor to recognize and salute selfless dedication and commitment to the WSU Vancouver community. The award honors an individual who expresses that commitment through participation in campus activities, leadership on behalf of WSU Vancouver and dedication of time, talent and resources toward advancing the university’s mission.
Twyla Barnes, Ed.D.
Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer, Educational Service District 112
One of Twyla Barnes’ favorite pictures shows a group of jubilant primary school students alive with eagerness to learn. The photograph, which is displayed in her office, represents the start of Hands-on Science, an early partnership among WSU Vancouver, Educational Service District 112, Clark College and local businesses, who together brought in a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to improve science education in the community. That grant marked the start of 20 years of collaboration among the partners to strengthen science education through teacher training, improved curriculum, internships and other opportunities for students to gain real-world experience.
Barnes, who played a key role in making that partnership possible and effective, was a 20-year member of the Campus Advisory Council. Council members, who represent all sectors of the community, serve in an advisory role and are appointed by the president of WSU and the chancellor of WSU Vancouver to help support the university’s mission. In that role, Barnes was instrumental in the university’s growth, tireless in building support for the university with the legislature and in the community, and deeply committed to connecting the university with local and national educational resources.
“I was thrilled,” Barnes said of receiving the award, “because I am so proud to be associated with WSU Vancouver, admittedly in a small way.”
Of course, to the university, her contribution is anything but “small.” Her involvement began during her first week at her new job in Vancouver, when the late Chancellor Hal Dengerink called her to talk about how the university could partner with ESD to work with teachers. Barnes, who had just moved to town from Juneau, Alaska, embraced the idea of education as a shared community responsibility. Her work and that of other Advisory Council members helps to make that happen.
Barnes spent 10 years in the classroom before moving into educational administration. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana, her master’s degree at the University of Alaska, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Miami in Florida. Among her many honors is the prestigious Justice Prentice Award from the Association of Educational Service Agencies for distinguished leadership to educational service agencies nationwide.