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BISHOP McNAMARA HIGH SCHOOLA Catholic, Holy Cross, Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Grades 9-12


From the moment I walked through the halls at Bishop McNamara,

I knew right away that not only did it align with my spirit and my beliefs

about what good education and good teaching looks like for young people,

but it also worked for my family.

That is really what drew me in.

- Dr. John Barnhardt

Dr. John Barnhardt, President/CEO

New Family Welcome from Dr. Barnhardt

To those families considering Bishop McNamara High School, here is a special message from our President/CEO Dr. John Barnhardt.

Meet our President/CEO - Dr. John Barnhardt


Dr. John Barnhardt is the fourth president and chief executive officer of Bishop McNamara High School.  The 2020-2021 school year marks the first year of his tenure in this executive leadership role.  Dr. Barnhardt's goal is to “educate both the heart and minds of children,” which he believes is essential to his personal mission as an educational leader.

Originally from northern Wisconsin, Dr. Barnhardt is a lifelong educator who has dedicated his career to building and refining transformational schools for students and families in the DC metropolitan region. Most recently, he served as the Director of School Design for KIPP DC, a nonprofit management organization that oversees 19 schools across the Washington metropolitan area. Over his 12 years at KIPP DC, Dr. Barnhardt has designed, built, and led top-ranked schools.

Prior to his leadership at KIPP, Dr. Barnhardt served as the President of Wisconsin Union, a membership division for alumni and student life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he played a significant leadership role in a campus master plan and capital campaign. 

Board Chairperson Robert N. Summers '86 had this to say about Dr. Barnhardt upon his selection as Bishop McNamara's next President/CEO, “We believe that John will be an exceptional leader for Bishop McNamara High School. His leadership has been motivated by the relationships he has with students, parents, alumni, and faculty and staff communities.  John recently shared with me that while it was at first the legacy of Bishop McNamara High School that attracted him to our school it is the values that our Bishop McNamara family stands for that humbles him and calls him to become our next President/CEO.”

My energy comes from working in schools,” Barnhardt said. “I think schools are a very unique workplace and a unique sector in that your job is to build knowledge and also really (build) connections for people.

Dr. John Barnhardt and his family

With his experience, Dr. Barnhardt believes strongly in an education steeped in faith like that of the Holy Cross tradition and commits to modeling this in every facet of school leadership. He also believes that his responsibility as a school leader is to maintain and strengthen the necessary conditions that allow students and faculty to be highly engaged in teaching, learning, and growing in their faith and academic study. 

Dr. Barnhardt received degrees in Sociology and Legal Studies from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters in the Art of Teaching from American University, and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.   

He resides in Greenbelt, MD in Prince George’s County with his wife Erica and their three children, Jackson, Brooklyn, and Mason.

Dr. Barnhardt believes our community and society need great thinkers… healthcare professionals, technology experts coming into the world and hungry.  “I cannot see a more important role for Bishop McNamara to play especially for the county and the region."

BMHS Dr. Barnhardt and Mrs. Carter

Dr. John Barnhardt, President/CEO, at Grocery GiveAway day of service

Dr. John Barnhardt, President/CEO, at Grocery Give Away Food Distribution - our Senior Class of 2020 day of service to the community