Growing up, music played a prominent role in Barry Applewhite’s early education experiences. As an adult professional, he is aiming to give students of a similar mindset a chance to use their talents and still attain a quality education. “Music helped me make it through school,” says Barry, who is principal of Milwaukee Marshall HS “Flying Eagles” – one of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Innovative Sites that offer specialized curriculum in Project Lead the Way and STEAM.
Mr. Applewhite, a native of Waukegan, IL, came to Milwaukee in the early 1990s to begin his career in education. Initially, he worked at North Division High School as the director of bands before transitioning to the High School of the Arts (MHSA). He returned to North Division HS as an Assistant Principal and then transitioned into the role of District Music Curriculum Specialist. In 2006 he was appointed principal of MHSA. In 2017 he became principal of Marshall HS. Regardless of the venue, Mr. Applewhite’s role with the district has always emphasized creativity and innovation.
Barry began his role as principal at High School of the Arts nine years ago. He holds an additional title with MPS, serving as its district music curriculum specialist. “The arts, creativity and innovation are an important form of engagement for every one of our students,” Mr. Applewhite says.
Music plays an important role in Mr. Applewhite’s life outside the walls of education. He and his family attend New Testament Church on Milwaukee’s northwest side, where he serves as a drummer on the non-denominational church’s music ministry. “The music is such an integral part of the service itself,” He says of his worship experience at New Testament. He also performs professionally as a member of the Chicago-based band, State of Mind.
Additionally, Mr. Applewhite has lent his expertise and passion toward a number of music-based causes, including the National Endowment for the Arts, VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Music Education Association. His other credits include directing the Milwaukee Lake Band.
Whenever possible, Mr. Applewhite says he will speak at conferences and similar events to shine a light on the important role that the pathways of Project Lead the Way and arts-themed education plays in the future of our youth.
While music has been the foundation of his professional pursuits, he accentuates the importance of a quality education.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and music merchandising and a master’s degree in music education, each from Western Illinois University. He also earned an additional master’s degree in leadership and supervision from Cardinal Stritch University. He currently is completing his doctoral work in leadership, learning and service at Stritch University.