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Posted 03 Sep 2001   For week ended August 31, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Sep01

By Rosemary Pollock

LDS Teachings and Education Behind New Gilbert Schools Superintendent

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Brad Barrett became the new Superintendent of the Gilbert Unified School District this summer and gives the credit to his father, Jeff Barrett, who taught him the value of an education along with a strong belief in the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "There were no excuses about going on in education, " Barrett said. "It was just expected."

One of Jeff Barrett's most prized possessions was his high school yearbook and instead of keeping it tucked away on a shelf, the World War II veteran left it out in plain view for his three sons and four stepsons to see. "I know more about his high school than any other part of him," Brad said. "He lived his high scool years over and over again in our home."

Brad worked a succession of jobs beginning at age 10 that included delivering newspapers, busing tables, washing dishes and bagging groceries. Yet, his biggest passion before leaving to attend Bringham Young University was surfing. "The beach meant more to me than probably anything," Barrett said. "I wasn't serious about the value of a human being....who was different than me."

When Brad graduated in 1969 from BYU he had aspirations of being a lawyer. He served a two-year mission in Peru and Ecuador and gained an appreciation of the Spanish culture along with a command of the language. Upon his return, Barrett finished a teacher training program and began teaching Spanish and History in Alaska where he met Elizabeth Willis.

As he was preparing to go to law school in 1971, Barrett was offered a teaching job on a Indian Reservation school in Nebraska. He wanted to go but had to persuade Elizabeth to come along. "He really wanted her, but she was reluctant," Jeff Barrett said of his son and daughter-in-law. "He said the job is mine if I could convince this girl."

Barrett not only convinced Elizabeth, but they were married three months after getting engaged and then three days later they started their new life together in Nebraska. Barrett loves teaching and is convinced that education is his passion.


Education was never an option
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 29Aug01 P2
By Peter Ortiz: The Arizona Republic


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