Tyrance Duke Barnett

Garland ISD announced some new administrative positions in June, and one of them is Tyrance Duke Barnett, who was named as Coyle Middle School’s new principal. Barnett isn’t new to GISD though. Prior to joining the Coyle team he served as Garland High School’s assistant principal for three years. At GHS he supervised math, special education, facilities and maintenance (including bond construction), and school discipline.

What are you looking forward to as the new principal of Coyle and with a new challenge of running a campus during a pandemic?

As the new principal of Coyle, I want to foster a campus culture and climate that works collaboratively to create systematic change that will positively impact our students, staff, and overall school community. GISD has excellent frameworks to drive the academic, social, and behavioral success of our students. However, it takes a positive culture and climate on campuses to ensure those frameworks thrive, especially with the challenge of navigating through a pandemic. Therefore, in my first year at Coyle, we will foster a positive campus culture and climate through positive student, parent, staff, and community engagement.

What drew you to the field of education, and when/where did you get your start in this profession?

I’m starting my 15th year in education. Prior to coming into this field, I worked in telecommunications. When my wife and I moved our family to Garland, Texas, in 1990, we immediately engaged with the community. As my kids grew up, I began working with youth organizations through coaching and mentoring. After a while, my family and other parents of kids who I mentored started encouraging me to get involved in education. So, after a lot of prayer and conversation with my wife, I decided to change fields. I received my first teaching and coaching assignment from my mentor, Mr. William Woods, at Sellers Middle School in 2004.

What teacher made a lasting impression on you growing up and how?

I will never forget the impact Mr. Darrell Ortiz – who taught algebra 1 at Dallas Skyline High School in 1983 – made on my life. He knew my background, socioeconomic status, and that I rode the bus two hours per day just to attend Skyline High School. I don’t know where he is or what he's doing these days. But, if I saw him today, I would shake his hand, hug him tight, and tell him how much I appreciate and thank him for not giving up on me!

What about your previous experiences in education do you feel will help you in this new role?

My personal experiences, such as growing up with a single mother who raised four young men on her own; the impactful experiences I had with Mr. Ortiz; the mentoring I received from Mr. Woods; the 11 years of teaching and coaching young men and women, including parent and community engagement; the modeling that I received from my previous principal at Garland High School, Mrs. Holly Hines; and the support and encouragement that I receive each and every day from my wife, kids, and grandkids will drive how I approach my new role as principal of Coyle Middle School. 

How would you describe your leadership style?

I don’t have a specific leadership style. One of my favorite things to say is “adapt and overcome.” I believe school leaders must set the tone for their campuses and lead the work. The style of leadership needed for schools must be adaptive and flexible because the days, the students, the issues and concerns, and the needs are never the same from one day to the next. However, one thing I know that will never change is the decisions we make will always be in the best interest of our students!

What motivated you to want to become a school principal?

I believe that I am the number one determinant of the success of my students. I had that mindset when I was a classroom teacher and coach. My experiences instilled the urge in me to expand my outreach to have an even greater impact on students in my school district. Therefore, the first step for me to achieve this was to transition into campus administration.

What is your vision for Coyle?

My vision for Coyle Middle School is two-fold and aligned with two of my favorite books, "Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance" by Tony Dungy and "Above The Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life" by Urban Meyer. Overall, my vision for our campus is to increase the positive synergy and make our campus one of the top schools in our district and the surrounding area. This, by nature, will exponentially grow the student achievement outcomes for all our students.

What did you learn most from your previous principal?

I learned a lot from Mrs. Hines over my career in education. She was my supervising assistant principal when I was a math teacher and coach at Garland High School. However, as an assistant principal, what I learned most from Mrs. Hines is to stand firm in my beliefs and commitments.

What would you like the students and staff at Coyle to know as they enter a new school year under your leadership?

I would like for our students and staff at Coyle Middle School to know that it is my honor to have been named the new principal. I have already been collaborating with members of our school community to ensure my vision for our campus aligns with the needs of those I have been promoted to serve. My professional experiences as a school leader are a critical component to this alignment since I have spent my entire career in the field of education devoting time, energy, and talents to increasing the academic, social, and behavioral outcomes of the stakeholders. I hope to meet with every member of our campus community very soon to continue the work. Great things lie ahead for all of us!

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