Meet Mrs. Gina Dee Barker! Mrs. Barker is an employee at the Jefferson City Schools as the Administrative Assistant supporting College and Career & STEAM Education. She began working for Jefferson City Schools five years ago after owning her own printing company in Jackson County for six years. Inspired by important figures in her life, she took up the role of being a big influence in her community by giving of her time being on the boards of Jefferson Booster Club, Greater Jackson County Young Life and JMS School Council by serving on these various committees it allows her to help encourage and empower students.
Alex Chau, a student in the Entrepreneurship class at Jefferson High School is very thankful for getting the chance to interview Mrs. Barker. He said “my interview with her was both inspiring and down-to-earth.”
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “My printing job required a lot of overtime each week and I felt I needed to shift gears so I could spend more time with my children. Jefferson City Schools was able to use my degree in business communications to help run the front office at Jefferson Middle School. My position has evolved so I am able to continue using my skills to help run the STEAM Center as well as help with our new college and career advisor located in the STEAM Center as well. Each day is filled with a variety of tasks. Some days I am building STEAM Kits, working on Sports media for Booster Club, creating flyers for numerous events or one of many other projects.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Jackson County and what do you love there?
A: “Well it’s not a sit down restaurant, but The Snack Shack is awesome. They have THE best slaw dogs, and hamburgers. Everything there is amazing! It’s my favorite place to eat.”
Q: What modern convenience would you want if you were stuck on a deserted island?
A: “You can’t drink salt water so I would want a filter. I love to read so I might want a good book. That’s what I want. A filter and a good book.”
Q: Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
A: “Susan Gay was my Math teacher and cheerleading coach. She taught us a lot of life lessons while making math come to life with real examples. The middle school years are tough because everyone is trying to find themselves as they move into their young adult phase of life. She helped us get through those difficult years and everyone loved her. We still talk to each other to this day! We’re Facebook friends and she comments on my kids’ photos! She taught me so much and got me through those crazy times.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Jackson County?
A: :I’ve lived and worked in Jackson County for 19 years.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Jackson County and why?
A: “It was Nadine Crow. She passed away about a year ago. She was the most amazing lady. She was a teacher forever in Jackson County. I met her when I first moved to Jefferson nineteen years ago. We went to church together at 1st Baptist. She taught me I needed to do things in the community, how to be a better person and what it means to be a mother. She also taught me about giving back, so she would have to be the most interesting person I’ve met. She was funny, humorous and knew everything about Jackson County. She taught me what it was to love Jackson County.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be to Italy. I’ve been to Europe, and France, and all of that, but I just want to go to Italy. I love the food and I want to go to the mountains and the beaches. Italy is where I’d want to be.”
Q: What is the first movie that you remember seeing in theaters?
A: “It was either ‘E.T.’ or ‘Gremlins.’ I watched [Gremlins] when I was about nine at the REC Center camp. I remember going to the movies as one of our activities and we got the old-school box of popcorn. It was a little scary but it was a good movie.”
Q: What advice would you give to a crowd of people?
A: ‘I would say to love yourself, and that doesn’t have to do with your ego or anything, but you have to have confidence and you have to love yourself. I mean, if you can do that, you can do anything that you put your mind to. If you don’t love what you’re doing on the inside or the outside then it’s hard to keep doing something passionately. You have to love yourself.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “On my bucket list… I’d like to go on a cruise to the Greek Islands.. I like cruises because everything is right there for you. We’ve seen so many places on cruises but never anything like the Greek Islands. A cruise with my family to explore the Greek islands for about a month is one I would love to check off my bucket list one day soon!”
Q: What is your favorite music or three bands that you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “My favorite music is country. I want to go see Lauren Daigle and I’d like to go see Carrie Underwood. I’d also like to see Madonna.”
Q: What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Jackson County and why?
A: “I think of it two ways. I think Jefferson High School is very nostalgic. Every time I walk to the front, I think about how old it is, and we just celebrated 200 years. I think that’s a very nostalgic building. I also think The Mill is, too. You have to think about how old it is. When you go in it today and see all the shops …It makes me think about what Jefferson used to be.”
Q: Choosing anyone, past or present (and a non-relative), with whom would you have lunch with and where locally would you have this lunch?
A: “Princess Diana. I loved Princess Diana and even collected her plates in high school. I remember where I was when she died. She was a good philanthropist and a good mother.”
The Faces of Jackson County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email email@example.com.