Growing up, Demensio Barton‘s parents instilled in him the value of education. This passion for learning led him to a career in education and ultimately to run for office to try to improve schools in his Florida community. While his political campaign came up short, Barton remains committed to making a difference for students.
Early Life and Upbringing Shaped His Passions
Demensio Barton was born in 1971 in Orlando, Florida to parents who emphasized education. His father worked as a custodian and his mother held clerical roles, but they constantly reinforced the message that getting a good education was the key to opening up opportunities in life.
Barton took this to heart. As a kid, he worked hard in school, enjoying math, science, and working on computers – interests he would later pursue in his career. Outside academics, he played sports like football, discovering he also had an aptitude for coaching others and leading teams.
Higher Education and Work Led to a Career in IT
After high school, Barton earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. This led him to work in information technology, getting jobs at Disney, Lockheed Martin, and other major employers in the Orlando area.
He enjoyed the problem-solving and technical aspects of IT work, and was able to advance over the years into IT management roles. But he never lost his passion for teaching others that had emerged when coaching youth sports.
Transitioning to Work in Schools
In the early 2000s, Barton decided to blend his interests in IT and education. He went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
With this additional training, he soon transitioned into working for school districts in IT and instructional technology roles. This allowed him to help educators use technology effectively and make sure students had access to current resources.
Taking on Greater Leadership Roles
Over the next several years, Barton took on increasing leadership responsibilities in schools. He served as an assistant principal, followed by principal positions at both elementary and high schools.
He enjoyed working directly with teachers to help improve instruction. He also tried to connect personally with students, often greeting them by name and encouraging them to work hard.
Campaigning for Change on the School Board
Barton ultimately decided he wanted to have an impact on an even broader level. This led him in 2022 to run for the position of Chair on the Orange County School Board in Florida.
Mounting a Campaign in the 2022 Election
In the August 2022 primary election, Barton ran against two other candidates for the nonpartisan school board seat. The race garnered significant attention, with major issues like COVID-19 policies, parental rights, and school curriculum debated.
Barton positioned himself as a moderate candidate, focusing his campaign on improving education opportunities for all students. But he was defeated by incumbent Teresa Jacobs, who won 70% of the vote compared to Barton’s 16%.
Prioritizing Equality and Achievement
During his campaign, Barton emphasized the need to raise achievement levels for disadvantaged students. He pushed for more funding to support struggling schools.
Barton also called for ensuring all students felt included, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. He highlighted a need to combat discrimination in schools.
Pushing for Academic Excellence
If elected, Barton said he would have focused on improving math and reading proficiency, which lagged behind state averages. He suggested ideas like expanded tutoring, teacher mentoring programs, and reduced class sizes.
Supporting Diversity and Tolerance
Barton spoke often about promoting tolerance in schools, pushing back against efforts to restrict discussions of racism or LGBTQ issues. He argued schools should be safe, welcoming places for kids of all backgrounds.
Staying Involved in Education Post-Election
While the school board election did not go his way, Barton continues to remain active in education and mentorship. He draws on his campaign experience while persisting in his passion for helping students.
Reflecting on Lessons Learned
Barton has said the election taught him important lessons about connecting with voters and building a campaign operation. While disappointed with the results, he values the opportunity he had to share his vision for education.
He does not rule out potentially running again for office someday. For now, he is focused on other ways to serve his community and make an impact.
Demensio Barton’s passion for education has defined his career, from working in IT roles in schools to ultimately running for office. While his 2022 school board campaign fell short, he continues striving to help students succeed. Barton’s commitment to improving achievement, funding struggling schools, and promoting diversity provides an inspirational example. His journey shows the importance of persistence when seeking to make a difference.
Where did Demensio Barton grow up?
Barton grew up in Orlando, Florida. His parents were strong advocates for education.
What jobs did Barton hold before running for school board?
Barton worked in IT and engineering before transitioning to education. He served as a teacher, assistant principal, and school principal.
How did Barton perform in the 2022 election?
Barton lost in the August 2022 primary for Orange County School Board, winning only 16% of the vote.
What were some of Barton’s campaign priorities?
Barton focused on improving academic achievement, funding disadvantaged schools, and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Is Barton involved in education after his election loss?
Yes, Barton continues mentoring students and pursuing opportunities to help improve schools.