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Tampa Teacher Receives National Award for Building Community Partnerships

Tampa teacher Julia Cobb Barnes has been selected by the National Civic League as a winner of the 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors In Education award. Cobb Barnes was one of only 25 winners selected for leadership in building bridges between local schools and communities and will receive a $5,000 grant for her school at a local award ceremony.

Julia Cobb Barnes of Young Middle Magnet School of Math, Science, and Technology has excelled both as an educator and a promoter of community service programs. Through her school-based community service club, she organized an after school “Feed the Children” campaign which, with the help of 212 students and parents, gathered 56 thousand pounds of food for hungry children in the U.S. She also developed an after-school community service program for Joshua House for Teenage Mothers and St. Francis House for AIDS Children. She took the initiative in organizing an annual dinner program with an emphasis on brotherhood called “365 Days of Black History.” She also worked with a group of students to produce two videos on African-American history themes.

The award is designed to recognize educators whose influence can be felt beyond the classrooms and hallways, by recognizing educators that: build partnerships with community organizations, parents, and guardians; resolve conflicts and promote safety; and participate in civic engagement and community service efforts. middle and high school educators in participating public school districts are eligible, and are nominated by peers, parents, students or community members and selected by a national panel of education and civic experts. The Ambassadors In Education award was established in 2003, after MetLife’s annual Survey of the American Teacher identified a growing gap between public schools and their communities.

MetLife Foundation, established in 1976, supports education, health, civic and cultural programs throughout the United States. In education, it places particular emphasis on initiatives that improve public schools, develop the leadership of teachers and principals, and involve parents and communities. Its grant making is informed by results from the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. For more information, visit