Gov. Lynch Swears In PSU Professor Dr. Virginia Barry as Commissioner of Education

June 1st, 2009 by Adam

CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch today swore in Plymouth State University Professor Dr. Virginia Barry of Bridgewater to serve as the state’s next Commissioner of Education.

The Executive Council unanimously confirmed Gov. Lynch’s nomination of Dr. Barry on May 6.

“Education is the most important investment we make in the future of our state and its economy. Ginny Barry is an exceptional educational leader who has worked at every level of education – from elementary school teacher to college administrator,” Gov. Lynch said in a written statement from his office. “She understands the importance of making sure we offer a high quality education to children from early childhood through college. I look forward to working closely with her as we continue to work to improve education in New Hampshire.”

Barry has devoted her career to education, serving as a longtime professor and administrator at Plymouth State University. She has held numerous positions at Plymouth State including professor of advanced graduate studies, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and acting president from June 2003 to January 2004.

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen praised Barry’s nomination.

“Virginia Barry will be a wonderful Commissioner. She brings to the position leadership experience across the educational levels, knowledge of the state’s educational opportunities, and an energy and intelligence that will serve New Hampshire well,” Steen said.

Barry has been widely recognized for her educational expertise, receiving PSU’s Harold E. Hyde Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership, the College of Graduate Studies Award for Outstanding Transformational Leadership, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the New York State Award for Support of People with Disabilities. She has excelled in teaching and scholarship that has benefited New Hampshire schools.

Barry has also provided professional development training for clinics, hospitals, and schools, and has received over $2,000,000 in grant funding from state, federal, and private foundation sources, including the Davis Foundation. She has published and presented widely on working with children with disabilities and on issues such as collaborative leadership.

Barry received her doctorate in education/human development from Florida State University in 1979. She has also done postdoctoral work at New York University, Harvard University and the College of William and Mary.

Barry is also a former elementary school teacher and principal.

About Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University is the University System of New Hampshire’s regional comprehensive university that combines a heritage of teaching excellence with innovation in engaged research and community outreach. Approximately 4,300 undergraduate and 2,700 graduate students currently are enrolled at PSU, which has state-of-the-art academic and residential facilities; a classic New England village campus; four-season recreation; and historic landscapes that inspire all who study, work, and live here.

The University has taken a leadership role among the nation’s most environmentally friendly institutions of higher education. In 2006 Plymouth State opened the Langdon Woods Residential Complex, the first USNH building—and one of the first and largest university residence halls in the country—to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Langdon Woods is just one example of the University’s commitment to the environment, which also encompasses a campus-wide recycling program; new courses and majors aimed at preparing graduates for careers in environmental science, stewardship, and policy; and EcoHouse, a new learning laboratory that shows students how even small-scale environmental design features can have important environmental implications.

For more information contact PSU Director of Public Relations Christopher Williams at or (603) 535-2476.