‘Tireless’ Lt Col named high school Teacher of Year in 4th year

  • Published
  • By Courtesy of Heritage High School

Lt. Col. Barry Morris, U.S. Air Force retired, is an Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor and Department Head at Heritage High School in Brentwood, CA, and also was recently named their Teacher of the Year for 2023 school year in his 4th year as an Instructor.

It is clear that the administrators and his fellow teacher understand and appreciate how hard Morris works for his cadet and their AFJROTC program.

He oversees operations, administration, and instruction for AFJROTC Unit CA-20144 and its 119 cadets. Using his 23 years of military and four years of teaching experience, he educates students on diverse Aerospace Science topics, Leadership and Management, as well as Physical Education.

Morris works tirelessly to ensure cadets feel welcomed and appreciated. He is at school from 7:45 a.m. until at a minimum 6:00 p.m. daily, this does not include frequent evening activities and weekend events. Morris is a mentor to all. He has helped six students become pilots, twenty complete ground school, enrolled two in competitive Cybersecurity Academies, and six cadets earn full scholarships to various military academies and university ROTC programs across the country. In addition, in keeping with the mission of AFJROTC, he has mentored and graduated 53 cadets and many non-cadets into undergraduate education and/or rewarding non-military careers.

During the 2022-2023 school year, he has overseen and mentored his cadets through four sporting and academic competitions, nine community service events totaling over 1,256 hours, and a 6-week unit fundraising project. Cadets have also completed 37 development activities designed to strengthen their leadership, followership, and citizenship skills. Furthermore, his cadets were hand selected to perform an on-court color guard for the National Basketball Association's Golden State Warrior’s Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 11, 2022. This was particularly noteworthy because this was the first color guard the San Francisco-based organization hosted since the COVID Pandemic.  These are just a few of the many noteworthy activities and opportunities Morris, and his outstanding co-instructor, retired Master Sgt. Rebecca Pash, have provided to develop the next generation of “citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”

Morris not only serves as a mentor to AFJROTC cadets, but he has also become a source of guidance and a friendly presence for students and staff across campus. His charisma, patience, honesty, and tireless commitment are evident through his daily interactions and positive impact. He is loved and admired by all and embodies the Air Force Core Values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence, as well as the Heritage High School values of empowering all students to become life-long learners, committed to Honesty, Equality, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Achievement, Generosity, and Excellence.