Jim Barnes Middle School
Jim Barnes Middle School is named for former Seguin ISD Superintendent James L. Barnes. Mr. Barnes was born December 11,1917, in Brownsville, Texas. He graduated from El Jardin High School in Brownsville and went on to receive his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southwest Texas State University. He began his career in education in 1939 in Maxwell ISD followed by Lockhart ISD and then answered the call to serve his country in the U.S. Army Air Force for four years. In 1946, he returned to teaching and coaching and later took on the role of principal in San Benito and superintendent in Mission ISD.
Mr. Barnes came to Seguin in 1965 with his wife, Dodie Nichols Barnes, and their two sons, Brad and Doug, to serve the local district as its superintendent from 1965 until his retirement in 1977.
Mr. Barnes led the Seguin ISD through integration of schools, implementing the Board’s plan in a peaceful, dignified, and effective manner. Also under his leadership, the district grew and improved. McQueeney School was brought into the Seguin ISD; libraries were added to many of the schools; Matador Stadium was expanded; area vocational classrooms were added; and Tom Crump Gym and the Cedar Street administration building were built. The middle school concept was introduced to the Seguin school system during Mr. Barnes’ tenure, Saegert had extensive renovation, and Briesemeister Middle School was constructed.
In his resume in 1965, Mr. Barnes wrote, “ The child is the only reason for schools, and his instruction is the most important thing that takes place.” In line with that philosophy, Mr. Barnes put an emphasis on curriculum meeting the needs of all Seguin ISD students, on subject matter being enriched and course offerings increased, and on analysis of test data to expand knowledge of how students learn.
Mr. Barnes was a man of principle and character, an example to students, faculty, and the community. He hired many teachers during his tenure, called them by name the second time he saw them, and mentored many educators as they grew in their profession. He knew their children by name and followed their progress through the years. His handwritten, personal notes provided encouragement to untold numbers of people whose lives he touched. He loved sharing a favorite quote with his students, staff, family, and friends, “The greatest thing in the world is a human life; the greatest work in the world is the helpful touch upon that life.”
Jim Barnes died Sunday, April 7, 2002. Jim Barnes Middle School was named in this most-admired gentleman’s honor by the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees on May 28, 2002, and dedicated on August 15, 2004.