Barnes will lead DCSF

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Demopolis City Schools Foundation will have a new executive director Jan. 3, 2012 when Amanda Barnes takes over the position vacated by the retiring Jan McDonald.

Elected by the Foundation Board of Directors on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Barnes brings to the job a wealth of experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and as well as a passion for community service.

“I have eight years of experience with non-profits, specifically with fundraising and organizational development,” Barnes said.

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Barnes, a Northport native, moved to Demopolis in 2008 with her husband, John David. Prior to the couple’s arrival in Demopolis, her career featured a variety of private sector jobs before veering into the realm of non-profit organizations.

The new director holds a chemical engineering degree and an M.B.A., both from the University of Alabama. Her professional background focused on operational and strategic planning.

Barnes’ experience in the for-profit business sector with Mercedes Benz and The HEIL Company gave her experience in operational efficiency.

“When John went to seminary, we moved to Austin, Texas,” Barnes said. “I just felt that a change needed to happen.”

That change led her to Dini Partners, a Texas-based firm that worked with non-profit organizations.

During her tenures with the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Dini Partners, a national management and fundraising consulting firm based in Texas, Barnes has worked with more 30 non-profit organizations.

From the formation of a large, worldwide organization such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance to a first ever $1.5 million capital campaign for the Gillespie County Historical Society in Fredericksburg, Texas, she realizes that philanthropy is at the heart of every successful nonprofit.

“It was kind of an interesting fit and a new direction for my life,” Barnes said. “I just learned a lot about the field and am excited to have this opportunity comes up in my current town.”

While she values her previous non-profit experiences, Barnes’ new role gives her the unique opportunity to contribute richly to an important component in her development.

“Probably, opportunity to improve the public school system,” she said of what excites her most about the job.

“I am a really proud product of the Alabama public school system and it is a really great opportunity to give back to folks who have given me everything I have.”

Barnes is an avid reader and strong believer in lifelong learning. She and John David, the rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Demopolis, have two sons, Joseph,10 and Samuel 5. Barnes succeeds McDonald. who is retiring after almost 13 years as executive director of the Foundation.