Member and Former Chair, Community Board 17
Community Involvement: Gail Reed-Barnett has been active in her community for years. Now a member of Community Board 17, she served as its chair from 2013 to 2015.
Reed-Barnett is also an executive board member for the New York State School Counselor Association, which “supports school counselors and their professional roles throughout New York State.
In addition, Reed-Barnett is an active member of her church community, singing in the choir, and serving as an usher. Her faith plays a vital part in her community service, “All my blessings come from God. Everything I do is because I’ve been blessed to do it,” she said.
Motivation: Reed-Barnett simply states, “People motivate me.” She has a passion for life and leaving a legacy, for helping others by sharing the knowledge and confidence she’s gained through life experience. She notes, “I want people to love themselves. Once they do that, they can do anything.”
Personal Life: Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Reed-Barnett later moved to East Flatbush where she is currently putting her passion for community activism to amazing use, Barnett notes, “I love to see the community I live in, bloom, I want to make it a better place for my grandchildren and the children in the neighborhood.”
With a BA in Psychology from Medgar Evers College, MSEd, Counseling and Development from Long Island University and an Ed.D. in Child, Youth and Family Services from Nova Southeastern University, all of her hard academic work has paid off as she continues to make strides in helping her community to grow.
Reed-Barnett enjoys writing, playing tennis, and going on cruises with her husband, a math teacher, in her spare time. “We love to explore cultures,” she says. She further explains that they enjoy seeing how school children learn in different cultures. Barnett notes, “They are the future, the seeds we plant- they’re going to grow.”
Biggest Challenge: For Reed-Barnett, the biggest challenge is “Helping a youngster understand the value in himself/herself and in others.” Her advice includes a bit of self-motivation, “Work on the good in yourself, look in the mirror every day and say ‘I am somebody.’ Believe it. Is it difficult? Yes. But you can overcome it.”
Career/Highlights: Reed-Barnett serves as a school counselor within the Department of Education, working with students in grades six to 12.
Reed-Barnett says her greatest achievement is “Being able to motivate individuals to become who they are today. As an educator I’m still growing,” she admits, “Being book-smart is one thing, Actually to practice it is another.”
Another highlight was being a district leader from 2004 through 2006. Barnett notes the position is what got her into community activism, explaining how she felt it allowed for her to “be a voice for the people of her community and a support system.”