Schools are a part of the BARR Network for School Improvement funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Districts working together to increase college-ready, on-track rates for grades 11 and 12
Aim to expand its national footprint with a focus on Black, Latinx and low-income students

What is the aim of the BARR Network for School Improvement (NSI)?

The BARR Network for School Improvement is focused on increasing access to post-secondary options for all students and especially Black, Latinx, and low-income students. BARR advances evidence-based, equitable and inclusive strategies which result in students imagining a sustainable, choice-filled life; and possessing the skills, behaviors and attitudes that propel them toward that life.

Where it Began

In the spring of 2020, BARR announced that it was awarded a five-year, $13 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand BARR’s focus to also include increasing college-ready, on-track rates for grades 11 and 12.

The BARR model is rooted in the belief that growth is possible and within reach for every school when the core principles are implemented with fidelity. With the support of this Gates Foundation grant through 2025, BARR Center will expand its reach and national impact even further by leading a BARR Network for School Improvement (NSI) that focuses on increasing the college-ready, on-track rates of Black, Latinx, and students in low-income families by networking 30 high schools across two regions in California and the Midwest.

Efforts will focus on grade point averages in grades 11 and 12, English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics proficiency, advanced course taking, increased high school graduation, and reductions in 9th and 10th grade course failures.

Meet the NSI Schools


  • Centennial High School
  • Compton High School
  • Dominguez High School
  • Hemet High School
  • Moreno Valley High School
  • Perris High School
  • Ramona High School
  • Rialto High School
  • Riverside Poly High School
  • Valley Center High School
  • Valley View High School
  • West Valley High School
  • Wilmer Amina Carter High


  • Chicago Collegiate Charter School
  • Manual Academy
  • Morton East High School
  • Morton Freshman Center
  • Morton West High School
  • Peoria High School
  • Richwoods High School


  • Integrated Arts Academy
  • Marshall High School
  • Park Center IB World School
  • Patrick Henry High School
  • Prior Lake High School
  • Robbinsdale Cooper High School
  • South Senior High
  • South St. Paul Secondary
  • Stillwater Area High School
  • Tech High School
  • White Bear Lake Area High School – North Campus

Meet BARR’s NSI Leaders

  • Christina Ritter
    Meet Christina

    Christina has 28 years of experience in education with a specialized background in systems thinking, leadership development, instructional design, professional development, and working with diverse student populations. At BARR, Christina works to ensure the model is implemented with fidelity and also leads BARR’s five-year Network for School Improvement (NSI) project.

    Current doctoral student, M.Ed., B.S. Biology and Chemistry
    Outside of work:
    Enjoys reading, biking, and time with family

    Christina Ritter

    Director of Strategic Initiatives/NSI Project Lead

  • G. Bryan Fleming
    Meet Bryan

    Bryan is a tireless advocate for children, families and educators and has more than 30 years of classroom, school and district leadership experience in numerous school settings. In his current role, Bryan co-leads BARR’s five-year Network for School Improvement (NSI) project. 

    M.A. Education Administration, B.A. Trombone Performance and Music Education
    Outside of work:
    Enjoys reading, running, golfing, traveling and performing as a gospel-jazz pianist

    G. Bryan Fleming

    NSI Consultant

  • Adult headshot
    Childhood photo
    Meet Tony

    Tony’s 20 years of professional experience has been all about applying operational and leadership competencies to solving challenges, from curriculum development, program management, training and state leadership. In his position as coach and trainer, Tony supports schools in the implementation of BARR through professional development, unlimited virtual coaching, and frequent onsite visits. 

    M.Ed., B.A. Communication
    Outside of work:
    Enjoys watching sports, playing ruzzle or spades, and visiting restaurants

    Anthony “Tony” Bland

    Coach and Trainer

  • Adult headshot
    Brad Brubaker
    Meet Brad

    Brad has been part of BARR for over 20 years as it has evolved and grown. His teaching endeavors with BARR began in St. Louis Park Schools, as a social studies teacher. He always felt that BARR fit perfectly with his passion for coaching athletic teams and allowed him to build deeper relationships with students and other educators. He was honored as MN Track & Field Coach of the Year and inducted into the St. Louis Park High School Athletic Hall of Fame.  After 34 years in the classroom, Brad started working full-time for BARR as a Coach and now serves as Director of Secondary Schools. He enjoys working alongside and supporting BARR Coaches as they help build stronger schools. Brad continues coaching and always looks forward to walking the halls of a school and watching educators positively impact students.

    M.Ed., B.A. Social Studies Education
    Outside of work:
    Loves DIY projects, mountain biking, and working to resurrect his running routine

    Brad Brubaker

    Director of Secondary Schools

  • Kathleen's headshot
    Childhood photo
    Meet Kathleen

    Kathleen comes to BARR after 8 years in schools both urban and rural. She has taught English, been a Diverse Learner Advocate, Instructional Coach, College Counselor, and former BARR Coordinator! As a coach and trainer, Kathleen supports schools in the implementation of the model through professional development, unlimited virtual coaching, and frequent onsite visits.

    M.Ed Instructional Accommodation, BA Creative Writing
    Outside of work:
    Enjoys teaching yoga

    Kathleen Leahy

    Coach and Trainer

  • Carrie Jennissen
    Meet Carrie

    Carrie has spent more than 20 years marketing and fundraising for nonprofit organizations and leading organizational development within volunteer communities. Carrie now works to create events and projects that educate, engage and inspire participants while highlighting BARR’s impact on student achievement. She also supports BARR’s Network for School Improvement (NSI) project.

    B.I.S. Marketing/Management/Spanish
    Outside of work:
    Energized by travelling, running, family time, and meeting new people

    Carrie Jennissen

    Associated Director of Special Projects

  • Meet Anu

    As BARR’s original evaluator, Anu has nearly 30 years of experience conducting evaluations and has been integral to testing BARR’s effectiveness since its inception. Anu is currently a strategic advisor to BARR leadership and works to ensure the integrity of the BARR model through research and evaluation.

    Ph.D. Educational Psychology, M.A. Statistics, M.Ed., Counselor Education, B.S. Mathematics
    Outside of work:
    Loves nature walks, playing with her “grands,” tennis, and reading

    Anu Sharma

    Senior Research Scientist

Highlighting Successes

It is amazing to see the accomplishments educators and students are achieving together across the BARR Network for School Improvement. Check out the stories below to hear how these schools are making a difference for each and every student they serve.

BARR Educators Helping Students & Athletes Succeed Across the Country

BARR Center recently kicked off a Leading with Culture series, bringing forward inspired and unscripted conversations with leaders who share first-hand experiences …

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Tech High School Expands World Language Opportunities

Tech High School has been paving the way for students to expand their knowledge of world languages. While Spanish and French have …

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2022 BARR National Conference Registration Open

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2022 BARR National Conference! The event will take place in Palm Springs, …

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South St. Paul Public Schools Becomes First K-12 BARR District

BARR Center announced today that South St. Paul Public Schools will become the first district to serve kindergarten through 12th grade students.

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BARR Center Awarded $13M Grant as National Expansion Accelerates

BARR Center’s Network for School Improvement (NSI) grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will expand its national footprint with a focus on Black, Latinx and low-income students. 

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