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April 2, 2024

Faculty Spotlight: Maryanne Barrett, Assistant Professor of Education

Welcome to an insider's glimpse into the life and passion of Maryanne Barrett, Roberts Wesleyan University’s Assistant Professor of Education. 

You may remember Maryanne from our article last month featuring her interview with the Rochester Business Journal. That interview inspired us to dive deeper and get to know her better.

She shares her journey from childhood playroom "classrooms" to inspiring students on our own campus. Let's dive into her story.

Maryanne headshot

What do you love most about Roberts?

The community! The faculty, staff and students genuinely care about one another’s well-being and success. Roberts is a special place and I am grateful to be a part of it.

Barrett with her dog, Lilly

Barrett with her dog, Lilly

When were you first interested in teaching?

If you ask my three younger brothers, they would tell you my interest in teaching started when I was a child.

My game of choice was playing school where I was the teacher and they were “voluntold” to be the students. In our playroom, I would set up their desks with paper and crayons and “teach” with my makeshift chalkboard. I think I enjoyed this pretend game more than they did. 

My serious interest in teaching was piqued during my sophomore year in high school. I had a 10th-grade English teacher who was the first teacher who really taught me how to write, built my confidence as a writer and motivated me to be a better student. His innovative and intentional instructional practices and design coupled with the focus on a safe and creative classroom environment helped me flourish as a student. 

This experience motivated me to learn how to be that kind of educator for other students.

Maryanne smiles

What piece of advice would you give to current and future students?

Never stop learning. Ask questions, actively listen and be open to understanding others’ perspectives and ideas.

Elizabeth Volpe, faculty member Elizabeth Stevens, student Sophie Farnholz, and Barrett smile in front of poster boards at the NYSRA conference

From left to right: alumna Elizabeth Volpe ‘17, ‘23 (English Education 7-12, M.Ed. Literacy), faculty member Elizabeth Stevens, student Sophie Farnholz ‘21, ‘25 (Childhood and Special Education, Literacy), and Barrett at the NYSRA conference

Have you presented any recent research?

This past fall was an exciting one. I had the opportunity to present research on teachers' perceptions of teaching multimodal writing in an online learning environment at a few different conferences for professional organizations such as NYACTE, NYSRA and NCTE. 

Being able to connect with educators, teacher educators, researchers and other stakeholders from around the country was informative and enlightening.

Read the article about her presentation at the NYSATE-NYACATE conference here.

Maryann smiles while sitting. A textbook is open in front of her, and a plant is visible in front of the textbook.

Tell us about your plans to help your Literacy students gain hands-on practice through the Rochester Area Literacy Council!

The Rochester Area Literacy Council (RALC) is a nonprofit professional organization whose members are dedicated to promoting literacy education through professional development and community service. One of the community service projects that RALC has offered is a publishing project for area students to experience the writing and publishing process. A piece of writing is submitted, and the writer receives feedback and has the opportunity to publish the work in a literary magazine. 

Due to COVID, this project has been on pause. However, RALC is bringing it back this fall and we are including Roberts students in the feedback process! 

This will allow our students to gain experience with practicing feedback and also give back to the community by encouraging area students to write for an authentic audience.

A man, 2 young boys, and a woman holding a dog smile.

Barrett and her family

What’s one of your interests outside of teaching?

Spending time with family. We love traveling, watching sporting events (Go Mets!) and playing different types of card/board games.

What is your favorite quote or verse and why?

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

This quote is the heart of what it means to be a lifelong learner. It gives permission to make mistakes, encourages us to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us, and inspires us to have a positive impact on our communities.


Read the Rochester Business Journal article interviewing Barrett (and colleague Katie Heath) about teaching technical skills.


Student Feedback

A young woman smiles slightly in front of a sunset.

“Dr. Barrett is committed to shaping the next generation of readers by going above and beyond to make her students the best teachers they can be. She cares not only about her students' education but also about their well-being and success. I leave her class feeling prepared and empowered to take on my role as an educator.”

Danielle Stevens ‘24 (Adolescence and Special Education, M.Ed.)


A young man stands and smiles in front of a city street.

“From the beginning of her course, Professor Barrett makes it clear that she wants her students to succeed in their learning to become effective and intentional educators. She creates a welcoming environment that allows everyone to feel as though they can ask questions, learn from any mistakes, and fully explore the content of her class. Each assignment feels purposeful and is structured in a way that sets each individual up for success. There have been numerous strategies and classroom activities that Professor Barrett uses that I have been inspired to adapt for my own students someday.”

Patrick Hall ‘24 (Adolescence and Special Education, M.Ed.)


A young woman with dark hair in a braid smiles.

“Professor Barrett is a beacon of empathy and support in the world of education. She truly understands the busy lives of her adult graduate students and goes out of her way to show grace, flexibility, and compassion. Whether meeting online or in-person, her classes are interactive and insightful - I never leave class feeling like I didn’t learn something new or that I can use in my own classroom.”

Daniela Viavattine ‘25 (Adolescence and Special Education, M.Ed.)

For more news articles, you can take a look at our archive.