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South Valley Riverton Journal

Meet Brian Barnett—the newest board member for the Jordan School District

Jan 05, 2023 02:48PM ● By Camille Emmer

The newly-elected Brian Barnett will be the new member of the board of education for the Jordan School District, representing portions of Riverton/Bluffdale.

Many of us are aware of the larger elected offices and what they do, but it can be difficult to be informed on all the elected offices in our local area. In a few sentences, here is a condensed version of the Board of Education and what it does. 

The Jordan School District has a seven-member Board of Education, each board member is elected to represent their community. The Jordan School District website clarifies that, “The Board works with students, parents and District employees to provide students with educational opportunities, prepare for the world of work and develop attributes of citizenship necessary in a democratic society.” The Board of Education has authority over money, prioritizes issues and educational opportunities each year, and these priorities directly influence the success of our students. 

Barnett was born in California and later moved to Utah. He graduated from Ben Lomond High School in Ogden. After a two-year mission to Argentina, he went to Weber State where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. 

As a new Board member, Barnett recognizes the importance of education, specifically a teachers’ influence on students. One teacher who had a positive impact on his life was his sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Madsen. He saw leadership and organizational skills in Barnett and encouraged him to develop those natural qualities. Mr. Madsen’s positive influence helped him build his confidence and self-esteem. As he progressed in school, computers became compelling and interesting to him. He and his friends taught themselves on the Commodore 64 home computer and designed a few large-scale war strategy games. The computer games and interest in programming would later influence his college and career paths. He now owns a software company called CalcXML which licenses financial calculators to banks and insurance companies. They are used around the world. 

Barnett’s family is also tremendously important to him. The family he grew up in, and the family he is raising now. He has three sisters and a brother. His parents as well as his siblings all live in Weber and Davis counties. He enjoyed his growing up, and says, “we all still get along great and love spending time together.” His parents were great examples of hard work, sacrifice, love and encouragement. They exemplified and taught their family traits such as caring for others, spending time with family and levelheadedness. They also instilled a duty to God and community. 

Barnett married Jennifer Smith in 1988. They have eight children, four boys and four girls. Six children are married, and the youngest two boys are still at home, 15 and 13 years old. They also have 14 grandchildren, all of whom are under the age of 6. After 34 years of marriage, Brian and Jennifer are still madly in love with each other. He lists his marriage and family as one of his proudest accomplishments. 

Barnett only recently decided that being on the Board of Education was something that he wanted to do. His predecessor, Matt Young, a friend in the community, saw in Barnett qualities that would be beneficial as a Board Member and suggested that he run for election. Before deciding, he did research with his wife about the position, as well as talked to people, including Matt Young. Barnett and his wife then made a mutual decision that he had the time and the bandwidth to give back to a community that has given them so much. 

As he becomes more accustomed to the job and the responsibilities that are included with it, his goals may evolve and change, but overall he hopes to provide meaningful counsel and advice as the schools navigate the inevitably difficult decisions in the future. His experience opening and running a small business, working with his own family and serving in community and church groups gives him resources and insights that will be a great contribution to the district and schools. 

When asked what his friends and family would say about him to describe him, he said he hopes that they would say he is friendly and easy to get along with. These qualities will certainly be needed as he serves the community and the board.