The Pirate Log

Angel Barbee: October Teacher of the Month

The 2018 Teacher of the Year has taught it all. Now she is on a mission to decrease the dropout rate at PHS.

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Angel Barbee: October Teacher of the Month

Angel Barbee, 2018 Teacher of the Year with Miss PHS 2017 - 2018 Ashlyn Morris and Mr. PHS 2017 - 2018 Walker Snapp

Angel Barbee, 2018 Teacher of the Year with Miss PHS 2017 - 2018 Ashlyn Morris and Mr. PHS 2017 - 2018 Walker Snapp

Heritage Portraits

Angel Barbee, 2018 Teacher of the Year with Miss PHS 2017 - 2018 Ashlyn Morris and Mr. PHS 2017 - 2018 Walker Snapp

Heritage Portraits

Heritage Portraits

Angel Barbee, 2018 Teacher of the Year with Miss PHS 2017 - 2018 Ashlyn Morris and Mr. PHS 2017 - 2018 Walker Snapp

Lauren Peck-Weisenfels, Sponsor

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In 20 years of teaching, she’s taught English at almost every level, served as Library Media Specialist, and reading.  She currently serves as the head of the Pirate Connect program at PHS, a credit recovery program for at-risk students.  Last year, she was named PHS Teacher of the year.  This October, Angel Barbee is our Teacher of the Month.

Having taught in several schools during her 20 year career, Angel is incredibly happy to be in Poteau.

“I love Poteau Schools with all my heart,” Mrs. Barbee said in an e-mail.  “I am so grateful God placed my kids and me in this school.”

Those kids are Juliet and Beau Flanagan.  Juliet is a sophomore at PHS/KTC who has already been named to the list of Students of the Month.  Beau is a seventh grader at PKMS.

Angel and her husband David Barbee, a custom home builder, also have older children who have married and moved out of the area.  Christian, 26, is married to Jenny and lives in Tulsa.  Hallee, 23, is married to Kyle and lives in Austin, Texas.

Mrs. Barbee says she has known her current husband her entire life as they grew up in the same church.

A graduate of Spiro High School, Barbee followed in her parents’ footsteps to become an educator.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah in English Education and her Master’s degree from East Central University in Ada.  She is also a certified Library Media Specialist.

Her lifelong love of education starts with her parents.

Barbee’s mother taught junior English while her father taught American history.

“I saw how fulfilled they were in their professional and personal lives because of their love of education and people.  I wanted that for my life as well.”

The October Teacher of the Month started teaching in Poteau five years ago.  Two years were spent at Pansy Kidd Middle School.  Then in 2016 she moved over to the high school to teach freshman English.

So what is it about Angel Barbee that sets her apart from the average teacher?

Angel knows how to use humor and compassion to get students ‘on board,'” says Alisha Smedley, PHS choir director and long-time friend of Barbee.  “She doesn’t give up on them even when they appear to give up.”

Her career as a teacher is marked by acts of kindness and volunteerism.

“Angel truly cares about her students and wants them to be successful not only in school but in life,” says Sarah Reed, PHS Staff member who helps her with home visits, tutoring students, and more.  “She goes above and beyond to help her students, whether it be help with classes, buying clothes for them or helping them find a job, she is always willing to provide a helping hand.”


Noah Sweet
During 2nd hour, Angel Barbee helps Levy Smith find his way in the online Pirate Connect program.

“Serving others is my passion,” claims  Barbee.

Volunteerism seems to be her true mission in life.  From church to community involvement, Angel makes time to give back often.

“I LOVE to work with Good Times Community Theatre [League],” Barbee stated in an e-mail.

The arts are a large portion of her volunteer work as she often helps with the PHS Choir and Pirate Players Theatre Company on top of the work she does with GTCTL.  In Fact, she was honored last year with the PPTC Jerry Carpenter Friend of the Theatre Award for her volunteer efforts.

Her church is also very important to her.

“I LIVE to volunteer at my church, Life.Church, throughout the week and on weekends,” said Barbee.

Her volunteer spirit and compassion for students in need are what make her the ideal candidate to launch the new program of Pirate Connect at PHS.  Her goals for this year are to focus on turning Pirate Connect into a life-changing program.

“PC is a brand new program for our school,” Barbee says of Pirate Connect.  “When I took this job, I knew this year would be a trial and error year with a large learning curve for me.  My goal for this year is that all of my students who are enrolled make progress toward earning credits for graduation.”

Barbee understands that lowering the drop out rate will be a challenge, but she is sure that it can be done within a short window of time.

“It will take around three years to accomplish this, but my long-term goal is to have all of my students obtain a high school diploma with their cohort year.  Another major goal is to see the drop-out rate of our school decline.  While it may seem impossible to eradicate dropping out altogether, I firmly believe it can be done.  It will just take time.”

She and Reed have already noticed that their efforts are paying off.  In just one semester, four students who were previously on the dropout report have finished their credits and are high school graduates.

“I have numerous students who entered the program behind on credits and now they are back on track and caught up to be able to graduate with their cohort class,” Barbee stated.  “A lot of the PC students are taking ownership of their education, and I think that’s the biggest win of all.”

Many in Barbee’s shoes would find it difficult just to juggle her busy family and the work she does with PC, but she isn’t slowing down.  She is a lifelong learner, currently seeking another degree.

“I’m currently taking classes through East Central for an Administration degree as well.”

She is not sure what she will do with the degree in hand, something she hopes to achieve by May, but she is not worried about it.

“I don’t have a concrete plan,” Angel says. “I just have a knowing that I’m going to need it in the future, but I don’t have clarity on what exactly for. I feel God’s leading me to prepare for something in my future that I can’t see, but He can. I trust Him, so I’m doing the work to transition easily to wherever He leads me next.” 

Is that calling taking her to take over the world?  If so, how long would it take her?

“If world-takeover could be accomplished by eating caramel banana [sundaes] from Braum’s, I’d say easily in a week,”  Barbee says with a laugh.

If not world domination, how about the presidency?

“I’d settle for President of a non-profit that worked to eradicate malnutrition along with Bible poverty. I keep coming across passages in the Bible that talk about Jesus feeding people at every turn. He knew people needed their basic needs met before they could effectively listen and learn how to live.”

But don’t worry Pirate Log readers.  Barbee is not going anywhere anytime soon.

“I have always found my work to be my greatest reward,” Barbee told the Pirate Log.  “My work gives me purpose.  I could not live without it.”

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About the Writer
Lauren Peck-Weisenfels, Sponsor

English/Speech/Drama/Journalism Teacher at PHS

Sponsor of Thespian Troupe #3283, Debate/Forensics Team, Mock Trial Team and Pirate Players Theatre Company


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Angel Barbee: October Teacher of the Month