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Carmichael Hall

Barbara S. Rountree

Ed.D., Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, 1977.  Curriculum Leadership.

Ed.S., Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, 1975.  Early Childhood and Elementary.

M.S., Jacksonville State University, 1972. Elementary Education.

B.S., Jacksonville State University, 1970. Elementary Education/English.

​An educator of 47 years from Guntersville, Alabama, Dr. Barbara S. Rountree began her career as a teacher in Alabama and Tennessee.  After completing her doctorate, Dr. Rountree joined the UA College of Education faculty in 1977 and continued in this capacity until she retired in 1996.  During this time, she distinguished herself in the classroom and throughout the College of Education.  She served as coordinator for the elementary programs, coordinator of international teacher education programs in Central and South America, one of the founding members of the awarding-winning Multiple Abilities Program (MAP) for teachers earning dual certification in elementary and special education, and member of a team of teachers who created the Clinical Master Teacher Program designed to train teachers to supervise interns. 

Rountree’s career is about experience, collaboration, best practices, and building opportunities.  While presenting a workshop, Dr. Rountree met an educator, John Emanuel,  who was Head Teacher at a primary school in England.  She traveled to England to visit this extraordinary school and later created a graduate class British Primary Education that she taught for 18 years.  Almost 200 Alabama teachers traveled with her to England to observe in British primary schools and learn about their multi-age classrooms and project-based learning.  

Rountree’s summer program for elementary students, Space Scientists, was the prototype for NASA’s Space Camp.  She continued to consult with NASA on the Solar Max project and the Air Force often flew her to Houston’s Mission Control so she could observe the science experiments she helped design.  Barbara worked with Chuck Yeager, who insisted she get her pilot’s license if she was going to teach and work in aviation, so she did. 

Rountree also worked with Doug Jones, Dr. John Hall, Ken Gaddy and Dr. Doug Phillips to create Something Special, a summer program offered by the College and the Alabama Museum of Natural History.  This program ran for 20 years with over 5,000 children participating in classes taught by College of Education students who earned graduate credit in science education.

Dr. Rountree’s class, Creative Teaching With Puppets, helped teachers design and create puppets to teach science, social studies, math, music, and language arts concepts.  She wrote a book about this with a team of public school teachers which went on to become the “Book of the Month” for McMillian Early Learning Book Club.  In addition, the authors wrote a second book on dinosaurs and produced two children’s albums.

When she was asked to help create a children’s museum, she spent a semester training at the Boston Children’s Museum and as a Visiting Professional to train in seven divisions of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.   In 1985, she worked with the community and teachers to create CHOM, the Children’s Hands-On Museum.   She served as the Founding Director for its first two years before returning to full time teaching in the College.  By then, she had helped design and secure funding for the exhibits and the new building.

Barbara was first introduced to Italian Montessori schools in 1973 when she accompanied her husband for his last year of seminary in Rome, Italy.  Dr. Rountree later taught classes in Montessori Education in the College of Education and took her classes to visit Montessori programs in Alabama and to Italy.  She worked with a network of Montessori educators to include Montessori materials and methods into Alabama public school classrooms.

As these are just a few examples of her extraordinary work, Dr. Rountree was honored by The University of Alabama Alumni with the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 1992.   She received dozens of nominations for inspiring pre-service and in-service teachers to create learning environments based on best practices.

Postgraduate work at Harvard challenged her to put the multiple intelligences research she had been teaching in college into a practical setting utilizing small group and individualized instruction.  Working with Dr. Howard Gardner and a team of public school teachers including Margaret Hill and other outstanding faculty who were former public school teachers, Rountree founded The Capitol School in 1993.  Dr. Rountree compiled all the best practices in education she found during her studies, teaching, and travels around the world to the best schools into the plans for The Capitol School.  EDUTOPIA named her “one of the Daring Dozen reshaping American public education.”  

For 22 years, Rountree has provided scholarships to institutions of higher learning for her co-teachers.  She has also provided her faculty a multitude of inservice opportunities and they have traveled to many schools utilizing the multiple intelligences.  She uses flexible scheduling in which the school is open from 7:30am‐5:30pm and the parents can choose the hours (no less than 6 1/2) that their child attends.  She expects that the entire 10-hour day is meaningful and educational for children.  She wants parents to feel secure that no matter how long they have to work that their child is happy and engaged at school.

Every action that she takes, every learning experience that she plans for students and teachers, every conference she has with parents, every event she plans, and every meeting with educators she attends are all approached by her with the same intention. She always focuses on what is best for students. She always considers how we can provide the best education for each child.