Highlanders in the News: Week of Nov. 29

Highlanders in the News: Week of Nov. 29

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.


A Radford University graduate will now play an expanded role in furthering the education of thousands of young Virginia students.

Ryan Barber ’98 has been appointed assistant superintendent of Waynesboro (Virginia) Public Schools, effective Dec. 1, 2021, according to news reports.

Barber has served as executive director of student services of that city’s school system for the past six years.

Ryan Barber
Ryan Barber

During that tenure, Waynesboro schools were selected to participate in the Virginia Individualized Education Program. Barber was also instrumental in establishing Valley Academy, the division’s alternate education program, as well as the STEP learning Lab program for post-high school students.

He has also managed the school division’s COVID-19 response during the pandemic.

In a release issued by the city, Waynesboro schools Superintendent Jeffrey Cassell said Barber “possesses all the qualities and abilities that epitomize outstanding leadership in public education,” adding that “his decades of experience have refined his interpersonal and leadership skills in working with students, staff, parents, and the community to achieve common goals.”

The Waynesboro Public Schools system serves approximately 3,000 students and comprises eight separate facilities.


When nearly 300 band directors take their places to appear in the Rose Parade early next month, a Highlander will march among their ranks.

Each year the event, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, kicks off the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 1.

Armed with his tenor saxophone, Andrew Johnson ’12 will perform with the group of music instructors as they proceed along the parade route, a trek of more than five miles.

Johnson, who earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Radford, is the band director at Eisenhower Middle School in Liberal, Kansas, a position he’s held for the past three years. He has worked as an instructor within the school district for more than seven years.

During the parade, Johnson will march as part of a “marching band of band directors,” according to KSCB News. It’s a project sponsored by the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, which recognizes the work of the late Mike Sewell, who served in school and community music programs in the Central Ohio area for nearly 40 years.

“Dedicated music educators and leaders work long hours to not only teach and direct music, but to teach life itself,” the foundation said. “Students’ lives in particular are positively changed by a motivational leader who taught, inspired and mentored them.”

The Rose Parade will be broadcast on ABC and NBC live on Jan. 1, 2022.

Dec 3, 2021
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150