Tim Barus Class of 1988
Exceptional Childrens Teacher, Draughn High School

Many educators look at the teaching profession as a calling. Those who are led to work with students who have special needs often feel that they have a particular rapport and connection with them. One such teacher is Tim Barus, who is an Exceptional Childrens teacher at Draughn High School.

Its a way of giving back, says Tim. My parents, Ramona and Dennis Barus, were both educators, and I realized from a young age what an important role teachers play. I chose to become an EC teacher because I feel like I understand students with special needs and can connect with them. It takes a particular skill set and frame of mind to find the key to each students way of learning.

It is certainly gratifying to see these young people learn new skills and find success, and it is especially fulfilling when a students parents are completely on board with the program designed for their child. Coming out of Covid has been a real challenge. Almost every student across the board has faced a deficit in skills because of the need for remote learning for so long. My students need one-on-one instruction and encouragement, so it has been especially difficult for them. I also look forward to the day when more job skills are added to the overall curriculum. We need people in all areas of the workforce, and helping these young people learn useful skills can only improve their lives.

After high school, Tim earned an Associate of Arts degree from Western Piedmont Community College, after which he served for three years in the United States Army infantry and is a veteran of the Gulf War. I was a responsible person when I joined the military, but the discipline of army life definitely reinforces a persons ability to make and obtain goals.

After military service, Tim served as a corrections officer and drill instructor with the Department of Corrections. In 2004, he returned to college and earned a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University. He began working as an EC teacher at East Burke High that same year and completed a Masters degree in Special Education from Western Carolina University in 2008. The move to Draughn High followed when the new high school opened in 2009.

Tim has also enjoyed coaching a number of sports, including football, girls golf, boys golf, and girls softball.

I especially enjoy announcing for the Draughn High School football games. I started announcing when I was at East Burke, and I have continued it ever since. Its one of my favorite activities.

I had some great teachers at East Burke. I always like to recognize English teacher Anne Stephens. I am convinced I would never have made it through college without the writing skills that I learned in her class. I also participated in the Concert Choir, directed by Jim Williams. Its because of Mr. Williams that have a love and appreciation for all kinds of music. I often play classical music in my class, and I have him to thank.

Athletics always presents a great learning experience, and Tim participated in track and was an all-conference football player. Coaches Wayne Fletcher, Bob Brown, and Albert Huffman were great role models and guides. They certainly provided a good set of standards for young men.

I also served as vice-president of my senior class, and I believe that the leadership skills learned through participation in student government are valuable. More students should take part.

East Burke has produced a number of outstanding educators, and Tim is one that has used his life and career to make students lives and the community a better place.

Published November 2022

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