In the eyes of Virginia Sparks Barnard, there is no greater delight than teaching bright, young children. She spent decades as a teacher for the gifted at the Lee County School Board before retiring in 2004, and loved the way the kids soaked up information like sponges. Her role included going from school to school and developing curriculum specific to the strengths and interests of the students, which made every lesson special and unique.
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Barnard enjoys studying history and genealogy. She belongs to numerous lineage societies, including Daughters of the War of 1812 and Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims, and is the president of The Southern Dames of America, the Pioneer Club of Lee County, and Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century. Dr. Barnard is also the local regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the reorganizing president of the Daughters of the King, the state president and national chaplain of The Southern Dames of America, and the state librarian and registrar of Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century.
Dr. Barnard prepared for her endeavors by earning a PhD (ABD) in administration and supervision, a Master of Science in recreation, and a Bachelor of Education in elementary education from Florida State University, as well as an advanced master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She then furthered her knowledge by obtaining certification in administration and supervision, elementary education, junior college education, education for the mentally disabled, specific learning disabilities, and education for the emotionally handicapped. Looking back, Dr. Barnard attributes much of her success to her father, who encouraged her dream of becoming a teacher, and to Mildred Laird, a mentor who helped her along the way.