Dr. Cynthia K. Barron is a leadership coach with the UIC College of Education Urban Education Leadership program. In the role of coach, Dr. Barron supports Ed.D. candidates through internships in their quest to become transformational school leaders. Nearly all passed the CPS principal eligibility process and are now serving as principals, assistant principals, and district leaders. Once positioned, the coaching focus shifts to supporting novice school leaders for several years to effectively employ strategies that lead to positive student outcomes. As an academic advisor, she ushered nearly half of her coachees, to date, through the UIC Capstone phase to receive their doctoral degrees. In the role of clinical assistant professor, Dr. Barron is an instructor of record and collaborates with the coaching team to plan and execute the EDPS 559 course, the year-long residency practicum for aspiring principals. Additionally, Dr. Barron teaches the EDPS 553 course, Leading Urban School Systems, part of the superintendent endorsement strand and actively supports a portfolio of candidates through the superintendent endorsement process.
Dr. Barron joined UIC in 2009 from a 40 year career in education, 35 of those in Chicago Public Schools, as a teacher, athletic coach, counselor, principal of two schools (elementary and secondary), Area Instruction Officer and Interim Chief Area Officer for High Schools. During her eight years as principal, Barron became the only two-time winner of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association's Outstanding Leadership Award, first as the principal of Jane Addams Elementary school, where test scores increased from a composite of 40 percent meeting or exceeding standards to more than 75 percent meeting or exceeding standards. She went on to win her second award as the founding principal of Jones College Prep. In 1998, at the request of the Chief Executive Officer of CPS, Barron transformed Jones College Prep from a two-year vocational school to one of the top schools in Illinois, in only four years. While a principal, Barron co-taught methods courses for pre-service teachers at Roosevelt University, served as a LAUNCH principal mentor (a former CPS principal endorsement program), and a probation officer for principals of underperforming schools. From 2002 through 2009, Barron served as the Area Instruction Officer for CPS for two high school areas (a total of more than 40 schools). In both cases, the increases in student attendance and achievement were attributed the leadership of Barron and her instructional team and was characterized by high performing teams in the schools. Barron later returned from retirement to serve as the Interim Chief Area Officer for High School Area 25, where she leveraged a new Interim Assessment Initiative across all schools in her area.
Dr. Barron invests her time in developing future leaders and improving the conditions for young people. She has served on the UIC/CPS Joint Committee on College Readiness and Success and the UIC/CPS Course Alignment Committee. From 2010 through 2013, she co-led the UIC High School Design Committee, and led efforts to implement the committee's recommendations at 20 CPS high schools through the UIC Curriculum Framework Project. She currently serves as the clilnical faculty liaison for UIC's part in the University Council for Educational Administration's (UCEA) Program Design Network (PDN). Outside of UIC, she serves on a number of professional advisory boards including Mikva Challenge, ACT State Council (serving as past chair), and Chair of the Education Committee for Amandla Charter School. Barron presents nationally for ACT regarding College Readiness, Course Rigor, and Student Preparation and for the CPS Principal Talent Office.
Cynthia Barron received her M.Ed. in Urban Education from Chicago State University in 1977, her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Loyola University in 1993 and her Superintendent Endorsement from UIC in 1998.