Featured Friday: Dustin Barnes, Middle School science

Mr. Dustin Barnes joined the Middle School faculty in 2019 to teach science and coach varsity boys basketball. He is in his seventh year of teaching.
Prior to coming to Rabun Gap, Mr. Barnes taught AP Human Geography at Admiral Farragut Academy for five years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Florida. He’s also done volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House. 
Mr. Barnes, who is originally from Mt. Dora, Florida,  lives on campus with his fiancee, Madison Philbrick, and serves on a dorm team. His hobbies include basketball, hiking, and camping. 
What made you choose to work at Rabun Gap? 
There are too many reasons to list about why I chose to work at Rabun Gap, but at the top of the list would be the community of staff and students who all work together - it is second to none.
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
The students make Rabun Gap special. Each student is unique and talented in their own way and they mesh together so well within this environment.
What do you like most about teaching in the Middle School? 
The energy students have in the Middle School is tremendous and it is what I like the most about working there. It fires me up to see a student excited about learning or when they have that “AHA!” moment in the classroom.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?  
I became a teacher to make an impact on student’s lives and create lifelong connections.
What is your teaching philosophy?  
In the classroom, I like to have a “Controlled Chaos” approach where the classroom can look flustered but it’s all a part of the plan. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy getting to know students who are in my classes and those who are not on a personal level.
What were you like in middle school?
I was shy and played a lot of sports. I always stayed out of trouble as much as possible!
Tell us about your basketball experience and experience in coaching. 
I played basketball at Mount Dora High School where Roger Cox was my coach. After moving to Gainesville, FL  for college at The University of Florida I realized my desire to coach student-athletes. That was 10 years ago and since then I have coached and trained current NBA, college, and high school players on their basketball and life skills. 
What is your favorite memory from the time you have worked here so far?
My favorite memory at Rabun Gap so far is the eighth-grade field trip to Washington DC. Students learned a lot about the history of the United States but also had fun with different afternoon activities. 
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? 
I love to travel! I have been to a majority of the 48 contiguous states and am planning to travel abroad in the summer of 2020.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12, located in Rabun Gap, GA. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we combine our strong academic program, mountain setting, and Presbyterian heritage to inspire young people who are eager to learn and grow.

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School does not discriminate regardless of race, color, religion, gender, disability, creed, or national origin.