After studying biology at UC Santa Cruz, Barnhart began substitute teaching in South Phoenix, Arizona. After two years, he moved to Los Angeles and has been teaching and learning with the students and teachers of L.A. ever since.
Along with National Board certification in science, he has earned a CLAD and an additional math credential to go with 13 years in the classroom and six years working to develop and evaluate teacher-led professional development.
Since joining the UTLA House of Representatives under UTLA President Day Higuchi, Barnhart has been involved in the North Area and has been on the steering committee for the past 16 years. He has represented his union at the state and national level, including as NEA Representative Assembly delegate, AFT Convention delegate, CTA State Council delegate, and CFT Early Childhood/K-12 Committee vice president. He has served as UTLA chapter chair for many years, UTLA PACE vice chair, and, for the past six years, as North Area chair.
As a school-site leader he has served as a lead teacher, peer mentoring sponsor, varsity boys’ basketball and volleyball coach, mentor teacher, School Site Council member, Local School Leadership Council chair, Hip Hop Club sponsor, class sponsor, BTSA support provider, and technology coordinator.
Barnhart is also a trainer for the AFT’s Education Research & Dissemination (ER&D) program and has created and delivered numerous workshops and salary point classes for UTLA members and staff, with such varied topics as Beginning Chapter Chair Skills, Data Analysis for Teachers, and Developing Teacher Leadership.