A Day in the Life of Principal Barrious


Tanisha Singh

Irvington High School's principal, Mrs. Barrious, gets ready for the start of her busy day.

Tanisha Singh, News Editor

At 5:30 A.M. a familiar alarm goes off in Principal Barrious’s room. Immediately, she hits the snooze button. Once, twice, and a few more times till finally at 6:30, it’s time to tackle the day. We know exactly how you feel, Mrs. Barrious.

In the span of 20 minutes, she is dressed and throws her hair in the usual bun. “I’m not a makeup person, unless I need to report to the district office on a particular day.”

Almost instantaneously after getting ready, she reaches for her cell-phone and mobile orders her everyday Starbucks—an iced grande with triple espresso. Before she leaves to commute to Fremont, she stops by her neighborhood Starbucks in Pleasanton, where baristas Jessica, Patrick, or Bianca are always ready with her order.

Chee-Choo, her pet dog, named after Jonathan Chee-Choo of the San Jose Sharks, waits as Mrs. Barrious fills his bowl for breakfast and says her goodbyes for the day.

A thirty minute drive to Irvington gives Mrs. Barrious time to do one of two things on a daily basis. Some days she calls her dad in Vermont and talks about everything from philosophy to daily school occurrences. Other days, she turns on the satellite radio and plays her favorite program—Politics of the United States (POTUS) by Michael Smirconish.

I reach her office at 8:00 AM exactly. The busy day began at 7:00 AM.

“As soon as I arrive, I take a look at any emails that need to be immediately attended to,” said Mrs. Barrious. “I have a few drop-ins in the morning since only about 30 percent of my meetings are scheduled.”

I set my things outside her office, while she finishes up a phone call meeting till about 8:10 AM. Dr. Morris walks by, greeting everyone in the office and taking a stroll around the school while he waits for his time slot. After meeting with Dr. Morris for an hour, Mrs. Barrious meets with the parents of a student. They walk in to attend their morning meeting before the advisory bell rings. In the span of an hour and a half, Mrs. Barrious has attended to two personal and one phone call meeting.

We sit down in her office as a surge of students rush to their lockers and advisories.

“At this time I would begin tackling all the emails I’ve received since school started,” Mrs. Barrious explains.

I glance over at the desktop screen she’s pointing at and there are already 27 emails that must be attended to and five voicemails.

“My inbox can’t be cluttered. I know a lot of people that have up to 2,000 emails unattended to at times.”

All these emails make me hungry so I reach in my bag for my granola bar.

“What do you enjoy eating at work when you get the chance?”

She momentarily gets up from her chair to bring out a box of Strawberry Kellogg’s cereal. “This is my go to snack. We aren’t allowed to go off-campus and don’t always bring lunch so I have my cereal on me. Sometimes, Ms. Hashimoto drops off snacks as well.”

After laughing about food and finishing up our snacks, Mrs. Barrious tells me more about her time at Irvington.

“I began teaching here as an English 9 teacher, until I moved to teaching AP English Language. I got interested in the subject because of my own English teacher Ms. Sherry Blackman. She influenced me extensively and make me love the subject.”

She recalls how she still remembers where many of our current teachers, like Ariela Koehler and Catherine Dinh, used to sit in her class.

I glance back from my chair and see that another walk-in has entered. While stepping outside, I wonder about the many kinds of student and parent issues that Mrs. Barrious deals with and how she is able to solve them. I receive my answer as soon as I ask what her favorite part about work is.

She discusses how she enjoys problem solving and working on the management side of things. When she came out of high school her father and she worked at their family business SIGN-A-RAMA.

“I worked on the marketing side at first doing cold calls and getting sign-ups, but then I switched to office management where I worked till I was 28.”  

As I transition to my next question, Mrs. Barrious adds in how meeting with parents makes her day.

“I like supporting individual families, and whenever I do I just enjoy it. Simply put, I like parents! I really get to learn where they are coming from through the eyes of a parent and an administrator. Like Atticus Finch said, ‘You never really know a person till you walk a mile in their shoes’.”

Mrs. Barrious checks her calender and prepares for scheduled student interview in addition to attending to a few phone calls and emails, which had increased again.

It’s almost time for the bell to ring for dismissal. At 4:00 PM , she heads over to a meeting for the Fremont School Management Association, of which she is the president. After completing the meeting, she  travels to TAK stadium to support the Irvington boy’s soccer team for their NCS soccer game at 5:00 PM , before finally heading back home to Pleasanton.