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Get to Know the Maine DOE Team: Meet Karen Barnes

Maine DOE Team member Karen Barnes is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Karen in the question and answer below.

What are your roles with DOE?

I am the Behavioral Threat Assessment/Mental Health Coordinator for the Maine School Safety Center.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy feeling that we are making a difference in the lives of Maine children by working with school staff to identify students who may be at risk of committing acts of violence and providing interventions to support them and take them off the path of violence.  Maine educators work extremely hard to keep their school communities safe and it is truly an honor to work with them and support their efforts.

How or why did you decide on this career?

I was a school social worker for 25 years prior to coming to the MSSC and I chose this career because it is so fulfilling to support students and their families by connecting them with services.  To see students overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life is very gratifying.  Although my role at the MSSC is more of a macro level position, it continues to be rewarding as we support school staff who then support students and families.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

I think a work/life balance is extremely important for our mental health.  When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my 3 grandsons and attending their sporting events, spending time with my children, camping, hiking, gardening and hunting with my husband.  My four sisters and I spend as much time with our dad as possible, and have yet to beat him at cornhole! I prioritize family time when I am not working.

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